How to Earn Respect on the Job as a Woman
Despite all the strides women have made when it comes to equality in the workplace, the sad fact is that they are still typically paid much less than men, are more often passed over for promotions than men, and are given much less respect on the job than their male coworkers. In many cases this is just because employers and coworkers have their own prejudices about women and may not see them as equals, but sometimes women may bring disrespect on themselves because of how they act on the job or how they perform their duties. How do you earn respect on the job as a woman and how do you avoid creating disrespect for yourself?
One thing to remember is that the workplace is about work and not your personal life. Anyone that spends time on the phone handling private matters or talking to friends is going to be disrespected. The office is not a place for gossip, backstabbing, socializing, and other practices that may make you look anything but professional. It is also important to make work a priority, if you want respect on the job. You need to have adequate childcare and ensure that family emergencies that interrupt your time at the office are true emergencies. Consider how often most men need to be interrupted or allow themselves to be interrupted on the job by calls from home, and realize that you need to give your work the same undivided attention.
How you dress and present yourself will also affect the level of respect you earn from others. Since the workplace should be about work, your manner of dress should not bring attention to you. Business suits are usually cut conservatively and are in neutral colors because a person should be calling attention to their work and not themselves when at the office. If your wear dresses to work, you may look like you are ready to party, and if you dress too casually this may send the message that you are not taking your job seriously. If you wear suits but they are in bright or soft colors or you accent with frilly details or too much jewelry, you’re again calling attention to yourself and not your job. Heels should be low and makeup should be minimal for these same reasons.
It is also good to ensure you are working in a way that earns you respect. Take care of your responsibilities diligently and work hard at them. Take on extra assignments when you can. It also helps to not allow others to disrespect you, as people will treat you as you allow yourself to be treated. If someone interrupts you at work, do not let them talk over you. If men tell off-color jokes or make inappropriate remarks, remind them that they’re in a professional setting and such behavior is not tolerated. These things will earn you the respect of your peers when working.