Consider a field with fewer women in it. Historically, women have been underrepresented in fields such as science, engineering, technology, mathematics and computer science. By pursuing a career in one of these areas, a woman may benefit from certain incentives designed to encourage more women to enter these fields, such as scholarship programs and grants.Determine how to balance work and family. Perhaps the greatest concern for women in the workforce is how to balance work and family life. Women are usually in their key childbearing years while simultaneously trying to advance their career and climb the corporate ladder.
Read about successful women. There are many successful career women out there - in business and in other fields. Researching and learning about their background and career paths will help to motivate and inspire you. Reading their stories will give an idea of what the path to success looks like and what obstacles you might encounter along the way.
The web is a great resource for researching successful business women. There are some interesting and insightful articles on websites such as Forbes and Harvard Business School.
You can also read the memoirs or biographies of a number of successful women and gain an insight into their professional experiences - both good and bad.
Sheryl Sandberg. An excellent example of one such memoir is "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She discusses issues such as the low level of women in corporate and governmental leadership roles, the pay inequalities faced by women in the workplace and the difficulty of balancing career ambitions with raising a family. She encourages young, female graduates to "believe in themselves, raise their hands, sit at the table, take risks and support each other."
Anne-Marie Slaughter. Anne-Marie Slaughter is a Princeton professor who rose to prominence in 2012 when she wrote an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, ” a frank assessment of her difficulty balancing her work as director of policy planning at the State Department for Hillary Clinton with her responsibilities as the mother of two sons. In the article, she argued for “changing social policies and bending career tracks to accommodate our choices” rather than expecting women to simply run themselves ragged in order to play by the current rules of the workplace.
Hillary Clinton. Former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has long been an advocate of women's rights. Clinton has emphasized the need to extend family and medical leave and to encourage women and girls to pursue careers in math and science. She says: "We need to empower women here at home to participate fully in our economy and our society. We need to make equal pay a reality."
Research women in your field. No matter what field you're in, there are sure to be successful women who've paved the way for others. Finding out about successful women in your particular field will give you a better idea of what a typical career path might look like and highlight some practical steps you can take to become successful.
Research what schools the women in your field went to, what internships they did, whether they worked abroad, where they got their first job, and any other information regarding their career path.
Figure out what these women did right, then use that knowledge to work out a career plan of your own.
Surveys have shown that most women leave their jobs due to caretaking conflicts or workplace climates which are hostile to the demands of parenthood.
The best way to ensure a balance between work and family is to find a company which offers a combination of parent-friendly policies such as paid maternity leave, company-sponsored childcare, flexible scheduling, family healthcare benefits and paternity leave.
Overcome pay inequality. Despite making fantastic progress in terms of the number of women in the workforce and the proportion of those who go on to reach managerial and executive positions, there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to equal pay. The frustrating truth is that women earn significantly less than men, for the same work. Although factors such as education or the decision to have a child can affect pay levels, the main problem is that women consistently undervalue themselves and fail to effectively negotiate with employers for higher salaries. In order to overcome pay inequality, you should:
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