LEADERSHIP / NOV. 13, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Pull Off Female-Dominated Careers as a Man

The world is at a stage where gender equality has gained a firm foothold in workplaces today. A lot of attention has been focused towards the empowerment of the girl-child and the honour that comes with pulling-off male dominated careers. Talk of being a CEO, an architect, a civil engineer or even a taxi driver - these once masculine careers have gradually been taken over by ladies. And the reverse is true - we’re also seeing men opting for female dominated careers. However, this hasn’t been greeted with open arms considering the common misconceptions upheld by men today such as:

a) One risks losing their Machismo

Men generally have a sense of pride. However, this pride can actually turn out to be a major obstacle. And I think it also has a lot to do with the rough side of men, so to speak. From a primitive point of view, men are supposed to be tough and rugged in everything that they do, including the careers they choose. Well, that has been proven wrong countless times. Men working as nurses, secretaries and even flight attendants are living testimonies to this.

b) All female-dominated careers require a woman’s instinct

This is quite controversial but it’s true. It’s said that you should never doubt a woman’s instinct and I don’t intend to argue with that. All in all, I think it has a lot more to do with adjusting to the career in itself than having a woman’s instinct. The instinct itself can be argued to be an added advantage, but not necessarily a requirement for one to pull off female dominated careers.

c) Man Should ALWAYS lead and not follow

I think there should be boundaries established when it comes to separating public matters from private ones. For instance, tradition dictates that man should be the head of the family. This of course is within private quarters. But when it comes to careers, I think such traditions would bring about lots of unfairness in the workplace. For instance, what if a woman is more competent and experienced in a certain field than a man? Will she be dismissed simply because ’Men should follow’? I don’t think that should be the case...

d) Such jobs degrade a man’s social standing

This misconception has a lot to do with what we mentioned earlier - a man’s sense of pride. This is just another primitive aspect of careers that used to be dominant during the industrial revolution. But now, society has gradually levelled the career playing field in terms of gender equality. And it’s quite rare these days to find a career exclusively reserved for men or women. Yes, they’re there but, it’s quite rare indeed.

e) Female-dominated careers are Less rewarding

This used to be the case back in the 80s and early 90s. However, modernization has turned tables for some female-dominated careers. For instance, hospitality careers weren’t that rewarding. But with sophisticated tastes came a greater demand for quality. Now we see five star hotels getting insane profits which of course, trickle down to their staff. Plus, female-dominated markets like the fashion and cosmetics industry can boast of the same.

Now that we’ve put all misconceptions aside, a serious challenge presents itself...

How does One pull off Female Dominated Jobs as a Man?

#1 Learn From the Best to Be the Best

Maybe the reason why some careers are female-dominated is because women are the BEST at pulling them off. But what makes them do so? Is it their patience and intuition? Is it their soft touch and hospitality? Or maybe, it’s all about efficient multi-tasking. You’ll need to note these things down to be as efficient as they are. Otherwise, you might end up really frustrated doing things ’like men do’.

#2 Be humble, Courteous and Open minded

Yes, you’ve got your machismo and all. But this might prove to be your greatest obstacle in adjusting to a female dominated career. Now, I’m not saying that you lose your identity, but all the same, you need to stay humble. And most of all, you’ll have to show some courtesy when addressing the ladies. Women don’t take rude remarks kindly. Plus, they’re likely to be the majority in the workplace you’re assigned. So whichever way you look at it, you stand to lose. And last but certainly not least, you need to be open minded. Some activities may not seem manly, but they might be a professional necessity. You’ll have no other option but to pull them off. However, don’t forget to...

#3 Uphold your manly principles and character

Being engaged in female dominated careers doesn’t mean that you stop being a man. In any case, I should have started by advising guys to become women. Female dominated careers are OF COURSE dominated by women. But still, there are things that women do that a guy should NEVER be found doing. Like engaging in girl talk or being in a girl’s night out - such social activities should be a no-go-zone. You’ve got to be a man and establish your own personal boundaries. Otherwise, engaging in some womanly affairs might affect you psychologically and soon enough, you’ll start exhibiting some ’inappropriate’ behaviour, so to speak. And I think I’ll stop at that...

From what we’ve discussed, it seems like pulling off female dominated careers as a man has a lot to do with overcoming a potential inferiority complex. Because if being engaged in female dominated careers makes you feel inferior, then Eleanor Roosevelt’s words might help you reconsider; "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Image Credit: Ready to Manage

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