You’re probably already aware that the world has progressed a considerable amount since heroic suffragettes were throwing themselves in front of horses in order for women to have any sort of equality and the right to vote – and there shouldn’t be a day that goes by that their sacrifice is forgotten.
Yet, unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that all the gender equality problems in the world have magically disappeared. Regardless of women’s rights progressing in leaps and bounds, there is still a stigma in the workplace regarding women and their being in a role of power.
Not only that, but there is the deplorable topic of the gender pay gap and hard-working women – who work just as hard as their male counterpart – getting paid a significantly lower amount for no reason other than they happen to be female.
All women can do is keep fighting, keep progressing, and continue to prove that women can do everything a man can do, and more.
Nevertheless, a woman’s career shouldn’t be about trying to prove a point. A female doesn’t have to prove herself in regards to anything, and a successful career is a woman’s prerogative and her fundamental right.
Here are just some of the roles which can allow a woman to rise to the top; but no matter what position you undertake, it’s important to remember only to fulfill your personal aspirations and nobody else’s.
Directing the Arts
There are plenty of successful and talented women behind the camera these days, and more and more Hollywood A-Listers are opting for their directorial debuts – and being thoroughly good at it, too (Angelina Jolie, for instance).
If you’re a creative genius who is aiming for a career in the arts, whether that be theater, music or film, this is a hands-on path to the top. You need to showcase your work and prove how able you are; if you want to be a director, then go direct a movie, even if it’s homemade amateur pieces of film, in the beginning, it still shows your commitment to the role.
Try and showcase your work, too, wherever possible. Maybe consider an online presence dedicated to your work (a channel or a website, for example) which will enable others to review and share your creativity.
Hone your craft and work your way up within the circles you want to lead one day hopefully.
Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, an arts career is very fickle in terms of equal pay. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight for it, though.
A career in nursing is a popular choice for women, and maybe it has something to do with a woman’s natural nurturing and helpful instincts. If the mainstream nursing profession isn’t for you, however, don’t be put off by thinking that there is no way to develop to a management position within this healthcare category.
If you train long enough to be a registered nurse, it doesn’t have to stop there. Institutions like Baylor University, catered for online learning, offer many branches of development within the nursing profession. Amongst these is the Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation program.
A Baylor MSN degree can build upon the foundation of a nursing career and allow individuals to become critical thinkers, leaders, and decision-makers in everything involved with the nursing profession.
The Armed Forces
Since the 1970s, women have been allowed to serve in active duty in all of the military branches – and why not? Traditionally thought of as a man’s job – and not forgetting the courageous men who have fought and given their lives in history – more and more women are fast becoming applicants for military service.
A great thing about the armed forces as a career is the opportunity for development and promotion, particularly where roles of leadership are concerned.
In some places in the world, however, women sadly are still not permitted to be part of the armed forces, and issues regarding women in the armed forces are still present.
Women in senior corporate or business roles are actually declining. There is a traditional image of men being more suited to top managerial positions like company CEOs or board members.
If you’re after a role of leadership in a business-based environment, then the starting point is usually to work from the bottom upwards. Your chance of promotion increases when you have experience and dedication and have shown your commitment within a company by working there a significant amount of time.
To be hired externally for a leadership position means you will probably have to show significant evidence of how you have proven managerial qualities.
It’s easier to work your way up within a company, as that way the people at the top know you as a person and have seen your work.
Also, take any opportunity you can get to show your team-leading skills. If the boss asks for a volunteer to lead a team meeting, or asks the team for suggestions about the business, try and put your hand up where you can.
Teaching is one of the most rewarding roles you can have in your lifetime if you enjoy inspiring others. Naturally, a classroom-based teacher role is a leadership role in itself, with students looking to you for instructions and information, not to mention motivating an entire room of distractible youths to focus on you.
Nevertheless, you might be more set on a leadership position based at the very top – a school Head, for example, or maybe a Dean. This shifts the priorities of leadership to the maintenance of the school itself and the faculty, as well as the students.
Being a school Head is the ultimate in leadership, motivation, and delegation, and it also has a focus on budgets, targets, and evaluating performance.
Because wanting a job in leadership doesn’t have to mean inspiring others to greatness – it only has to mean leading yourself.
With freelance work, you can be your own boss and your best self, and a position like this inspires even more motivation for you to build your perfect career as a result of your own hard work and your own business acumen.
A freelance position means using all the essential leadership qualities, motivation, communication, leading by doing, etc., but forcing them on yourself. Motivate yourself, set your own targets, reward yourself, promote yourself, and do it all for the successful career you wish to achieve.
President of the United States!
If Hilary Clinton tried for it recently, why can’t you? A woman can rule a country just as well as a man, and if you’re aiming for the best career in politics, why not aim for the very top.
So What Does it Mean to Lead?
Some people are just born leaders, and for others, it’s a skill which needs to be learned and honed to perfection – and there’s nothing wrong with either. Taking time and effort to learn how best to lead a team of people holds no shame compared to a person who is a naturally gifted leader. What’s more, it doesn’t mean they will be any more successful than you at it in the long run.
Whether you’re looking for an office managerial position or an authority position in a different profession, it’s important to remind yourself to be a leader rather than a dictator.
Important things to remember include:
- Have a clear vision: If you’re a little confused about what you’re aiming for, then how are the rest of the team you lead going to have any hope of understanding? Being confident of your goals and your reasons for doing what you’re doing will help enormously.
- Communicate that vision: Maybe you’re an office manager explaining a new procedure to employees, or a commanding officer in the army ordering your soldiers to complete a mission. Just stating the order doesn’t help in terms of being a good leader. You need to explain why you’re giving the order and what your logic was behind the fact. Those who follow you will do so more confidently if you speak openly to them about why you are doing something.
- Don’t forget the importance of morale: A hard task in any profession will take its toll on workers. As a leader, you need to ensure that you are ensuring your team knows that its hard work is definitely appreciated. It can be a small gesture or a large one, maybe even a simple thank you, a bonus paycheck, or a gift. If a team feels undervalued and unappreciated, they will lose their motivation, and you will lose your team’s loyalty.
- Be a doer: There’s nothing worse for an employee to see their superior giving orders and never actually doing much themselves. The best way to lead is by doing, and showing your team that you would give for them the same they give for you.
- Delegate: Although it’s a good idea to lead by doing, that doesn’t mean that you should be taking on minor jobs which aren’t part of your job description. There’s a difference between being happy to chip in and help, and taking on more responsibility that you have time for, which might result in you neglecting your actual job role. Ensure that every member of your team has their clear role and task set and that they are aware of what your role is (or isn’t), too.
Here are five tips for a career-focused mind.
1. Put time and effort into making the right choice
It’s difficult to uphold a position of strength and leadership if you don’t particularly believe in what you’re working towards or for. Venturing down the wrong career path, even if you end up with a successful position at the top, can eventually lead to feeling disheartened, uninspired and unmotivated. What’s more, it will quickly translate to the rest of your team, too.
Ensure that you properly plan the area of work you want to go into, and that’s when you can make plans to reach the top of it.
2. Do your research
Once you’ve decided the career path you want to travel down, and have set your goals and aims for the position you want to achieve, make sure you research as much as possible about the requirements of the role.
You don’t want to waste years of energy and hard work towards a particular role, only to discover when you get nearer to it that you don’t have an essential qualification or life skill that you could easily have learned along the way if you’d just known.
3 .Consider voluntary work
If your career path asks for skills which are outside of the business area (for example, ‘people skills’ or ‘enjoys helping others’), then prove that you have these skills with extra-curricular activities. You’ll be much more likely to be promoted for a position leading the team if you have vast voluntary experience as well as business experience in leading a group. Plus, voluntary works in your favor, as you gave up your free time to do it.
In this day and age, an online presence is unfortunately just as crucial as a real one for some career options. A lot of the time, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. Making valuable contacts in the industry you want to work in might pay off in the long run, especially if they may be looked upon to recommend a person for promotion.
Whether it’s preparing for tough interview questions or for any occasion to prove your leadership qualities, the best offense is a good defense. You never know when an opportunity to prove yourself may arise, and spending your spare time preparing for crucial career opportunities will mean you’re always aware and ready at a moment’s notice. Perhaps it’s an impromptu presentation you’ve been asked to give, or you’re required to fill a senior person’s shoes if they are abruptly off work sick.
Being ready for anything won’t harm your chances.