The working world for women these days is better than it’s ever been, but there is still a long way to go. The glass ceiling still exists and discrepancy in pay for men and women doing the same job is still more common that we’d like to think. We have a long way to go to achieving complete equality, but that doesn’t mean that women should stop trying or striving for those top jobs.
The days of gender specific occupations are long behind us. However, gender stereotypes still exist. For example, how many people will think of a woman when asked to picture a nurse? When you think of a chief executive of a company, do you think of a male or female? These days women can be whatever they want to be, but it remains the case that in some occupations, they may have to break down some preconceptions and work just that little bit harder to get where they want to be.
Suited and Booted
Anyone who wants to do well and be taken seriously at work have to look the part. Although many companies have adopted a more relaxed attitude to the suited and booted look, most people make an effort when going into the office. Although women don’t need to wear a tie, some good quality specialist work attire (try looking at brands like LK Bennett) is a great investment.
Shopping in department stores is a good way to get everything you need. Try getting a selection of outfits from the same brand to ensure a good match in quality, style and cloth. Don’t be fooled into thinking all blacks are the same; they aren’t.
Talking and focusing on clothing might sound a little cliché when discussing women’s career options, but it is true that making the right impression is incredibly important, and that’s the case for both men and women. Scruffy attire and poor presentation will have the same impact on your career, no matter what your gender. You could argue that it is even more important for women who want to be taken seriously to dress and look like they mean business.
When it comes to choosing a career, women have more choice than ever before. Long gone are the days when you have to settle for being the secretary or PA – whilst these can remain perfectly valid and good career options in the right company, with a little hard work and determination there’s no reason why you couldn’t become the boss if you really wanted to.
There’s no areas off limits – just ask Karen Brady who has successfully navigated her way through the male dominated arena of football. She is currently the Vice-Chairman at West Ham Football Club and used to be the Chief Executive at Birmingham City. She is also a judge on The Apprentice and is quoted with saying “Women have brains and uteruses and are able to use both”.
In the past, women have been forced to choose between family and career, but attitudes are changing and whilst it is still tough out there, with flexible working and new legislation, there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t have both.