TIPS TO HELP BREAK THE BIAS – International Women’s Day 2022 theme: #breakthebias

Newman College has had a long tradition of encouraging female students to explore the trades. This International Women’s Day we wanted to provide some useful tips to support those who work in male-dominated industries and continue to help break the bias.

Seven Tips for working in a male-dominated field:

1. – Be supportive of women (and all minority group members) in your workforce – It can be harder for some people to join the workplace when they aren’t the “norm” – try to recognise this and make sure you give them your understanding nod of support where it’s warranted.  Singing the praises of your female coworkers’ accomplishments can also raise an awareness that will pave the way for a better future.

2. – Know your physical limitations – There is no point in busting your gut, literally, because you thought you had to lift the same weights as a stronger male counterpart. You don’t. When the lift weight is too much there is always another way.

3.- Be cautious – When you are attracted to workmates, and vice versa. Unfortunately, being the only female prospect within a given radius can bring unwanted attention. Think twice so as to be absolutely sure before pursuing a relationship with a colleague. It’s true that many people find their life partner through work but it can also be really uncomfortable when the friendly versus intimate relationship lines are blurred.

4. – Speak up when you feel something inappropriate has been done or said. – You can start by doing this gently with a quiet word or louder in a light-hearted way. You could enlist a popular worker to help back your view. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make someone aware. But if that has no impact take it further. It’s best to nip it in the bud to help prevent a toxic workplace and encourage a more educated team.

5. – Be you – You don’t have to swear like the boys to be one of the boys. You can keep your identity and still be part of the crew.  Just focus on the team. And this goes both ways as all members should be mindful of differences within the team. People soon learn what is offensive and what isn’t. If your workmates, fellas in particular, can be themselves around you without being offensive and without fear of reprisal, you will gain their trust knowing that you can both/all be yourselves and be comfortable.

6. – There is a line – It is, however, never appropriate for someone to cross the line when you’ve noted your boundary.

7. – These tips aren’t just for women – Men would also do well to follow these tips. Parents, employers, teachers, coaches, leaders, all people of influence, can teach their daughters and sons, employees, and team members to be aware of the minority group’s experience and use these tips to help that experience to be a more positive one. Sometimes it is the small actions from an understanding point of view that has the biggest impact.