If you are a woman in business, you might have already come across some misconceptions and stereotypes that are related to gender. These can be positive or negative, but, nonetheless, need to be examined and challenges. While some jobs might be more popular among men than women, this doesn’t mean that men are better suited for them. They simply choose it or are chosen to do it. If you have been told before that you were not suitable for a job due to your gender or age, read the below tips on dealing with misconceptions.
Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills
One of the stereotypes associated with gender is that women are better at soft skills and men are better with hard skills. Whoever believes that there are clear categories hasn’t seen a distracted manager who is starting a new project based on an inspiration and switches to a new task the next minute. Men can be good at soft skills, and show empathy. However, women can also be focused and goal-oriented.
Influencing vs. Management
Image via Ruthson Zimmerman
While men might be good at managing projects, women can be great at organizing. You cannot say that one of the skills is more important than another. There are no priorities when it comes to leadership skills. You can achieve the same results when you are using your skills to influence employee behaviors or when you put your management skills into action and create internal policies. Leadership skills should be assessed based on results, and not approaches.
Data vs. Gut Feelings
Men say that women are not good with statistics and data, but there are plenty of great female statisticians out there. Analytical skills are only a part of the equation. At the end of the day, you will need to make decisions based on your experience, the data presented, and all the information. As women are more careful and tend to collect more information, they can compensate for their lack of interest in numbers. Not to mention that a good software consulting company can automate data analysis.
Strict vs. Personal
The misconception describing men as strict and women as personal is also wrong. Some women are able to separate business from family and friendships, while some men can’t. It might be time to judge men and women based on their performance and their individual achievements, instead of their gender.
Caring vs. Organizing
You might think that women are better for caring jobs, but this is not true, either. While women choose careers in health and social care more often, some of them work in administration, as legal secretaries, and are very good at keeping and retrieving information whenever it is needed. Therefore, no manager should decline a woman a promotion in data management based on their gender.
Whether you are seeking a promotion or would like to prove yourself as a female manager, you will need to start with challenging gender stereotypes. Don’t try to fit in and show your skills as they are, even if you don’t fit in other people’s categories.