Tips for Overcoming Sexist Attitudes at Work

I am a woman entering the field of information technology and I feel I’m not taken seriously. Do you have any advice on how I can be viewed equally and as dedicated as the men in my field?

—C.J.
New York

Women are underrepresented in IT as well as in other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. For you to maneuver successfully through this industry and withstand possible gender bias or discrimination, continue to sharpen your skills, increase your knowledge, and stay current on the industry’s trends and news. To further gain an upper hand, visit our website and read “Where the Jobs Are: Information Technology” (March 2010). Add to your efforts a determined mindset, and avoiding pitfalls (and negative people) shouldn’t be too difficult.

Remember, you can’t control the behavior of others, but you can control your own. Wall Street veteran Carla Harris, one of BE’s 75 Most Powerful Women in Business,  writes in her book, Expect to Win (Hudson Street Press; $24.95), “I am not saying that ‘they’ don’t have some part in your career not going the way that you might like, but remember that you are responsible for your career success.”

As you activate your plan, maintain a confident demeanor to keep naysayers at bay. In the article “Dare-Dreaming” (Motivation, March 2007), we provide strategies for overcoming negativity, including developing a thick skin, staying the course, and fueling the flame. Chérie Carter-Scott, author of If Success Is a Game, These Are the Rules: 10 Rules for a Fulfilling Life (Broadway Books; $15), is quoted in the piece: “If you give others the power to dictate your path, you are merely a passive participant in your own life. There are two choices: being the driver or being the passenger.”

This Q&A appears in the September 2010 issue in Motivation.