How Women Can Examine Their Language for a Leg Up at Work

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How Women Can Examine Their Language for a Leg Up at Work

In a patriarchal world, women are constantly adjusting to men’s expectations to fit into the workplace. This can stem anywhere from dressing a certain way, to using specific language when sharing their ideas or speaking in meetings. Although women have been conditioned to not step on toes in an office environment, we should examine our language to be more assertive in the office in order to climb up the corporate ladder.  

Women in the Workplace

Not too long ago, gender roles dominated work atmospheres and prevented women from securing financial stability and pursuing high-paying careers. We’ve come a long way in women’s rights and although workplaces and executive positions are still often male-dominated, women are slowly but surely beginning to occupy more C-suite and executive-level positions.

This is done through very tactful and mindful language and usually requires women to be more qualified than any male applicants. Growing up, women learn to speak tentatively in order to avoid being perceived as dominant or bossy; these would be seen as leadership qualities in men, but are considered negative traits for a woman to have. This often makes it difficult to excel in executive positions, as women are accustomed to using filters and qualifiers before sharing their ideas, which can make them seem unconfident.

Some phrases include:

  • I was just thinking that maybe…
  • I might be wrong but…
  • Somebody probably already touched on this but…

These people-pleasing phrases make it easier for people to dismiss women’s ideas and not give them the attention they deserve. Although eliminating these phrases can cause women to be seen as rude or blunt, being more direct in the workplace demands attention to the ideas being suggested and makes it difficult to ignore new propositions from any individual.

However, even as women share their ideas and achieve better positions in the workplace, they are usually paid less than their male counterparts. The wage gap is largely due to the lack of women in executive positions and STEM fields, however, even when women achieve these positions, they are offered lower salaries than men in the same position.

In order to avoid this outcome, women must negotiate compensation for executive positions. Whether for an upper management level job or a STEM field position, women must discuss compensation carefully to receive the wages they deserve. This is done by choosing the right time to talk about compensation (after a job offer has been made), and ensuring your language expresses dedication to the job and does not simply prioritize the salary.

Career Politics

As you consider applying for upper level positions, it’s important to clean up your resume and add any new experience you’ve gained since the last time you applied for a promotion. Having an updated resume prepares you for opportunities that may arise on short notice and helps to foster a mentality that is ready to open doors into new positions. As you renew your resume, make sure to include communication skills on your resume list of skills, or to highlight successful communication achievements in the workplace. This highly sought after trait may seem cliche, but the ability to communicate effectively is extremely important to potential employers.

Women take up very few positions in politics and stand out notably among the sea of male legislators. Careers in politics are especially demanding for women, as they require women to take up space in heavily male-dominated groups. In order to do so, these women must be extremely conscious of their language to avoid any qualifying statements and they must express their ideas firmly and unwaveringly as successful politicians must be strong communicators.

The hard-working and careful analyzation characteristics that women leaders possess make them excellent communicators and strong politicians. Women have a perspective in politics and corporate positions that is desperately needed for a more balanced culture in these environments. Despite the gender discrimination of the 21st century, women excel in the workplace, and adjusting your language to be more assertive can help in achieving career goals more quickly.