The Evolving Fight for Position Being a Woman in a Male Driven Industry
By Tracy Chongling
In the dawn of a new year I like many begin reflecting on the past years successes and opportunities (I prefer the word opportunity over failure). I take time to think about the things in my life that may be going well and in which areas I would like to improve both personally and professionally. I seem to find myself year after year finding new ways to try and elevate myself within my Mortgage career.
During an age where everything is so politically charged and so many grassroots organizations are forming to further empower women’s rights, I started to question. How far have we really come? As a woman in a sales driven environment I find myself surrounded by males, and 9 out of 10 times they all are fighting for the Alpha Male spot. I’ve always found this to be comical in a sense, because at the end of the day we are all striving toward seeing our buyers get into homes, but sales can be cut throat and only the strong survive.
I’ve been fairly fortunate that I’ve organically grown my business by hitting the pavement and building relationships, but behind the scenes I have hit many roadblocks. I’ve heard all types of reasons why someone may not want to work with me, and many have bordered on extremely discriminatory based solely on me being a woman. From the men in the industry wanting to take me out for lunches and dinners to “get to know me better” before deciding that I’m fit to work with their clients, to women who worry I may not be strong enough for their client base.
So why in this day in age are we as women still fighting for our positions? Why are we still finding ourselves working harder to prove ourselves equal to our male counterparts? Furthermore why are so many women still discriminated against in their own gender in certain industries?
Early in my career I found myself struggling to figure out how to assert my abilities by portraying the “tough girl persona”, which ended up giving me the reputation of being mean. As I grew and evolved as a woman I began to look at gender roles and their impacts across business and began finding ways to better myself personally in order to confidently stand next to and amongst my male peer group.
I have never and will never accept sexual or social invitations from the opposite sex in order to further myself, but I’ve learned to build healthy relationships with my male counterparts, while standing authentically in who I am. It’s easy to blame our failures on men or society for not allowing us to advance, the hard part is the fight to get to where we want to be and prove to ourselves what we are worth in our industries. As women we shouldn’t need to feel the need to INSERT ourselves into a male dominated industry we need to ASSERT ourselves. Let’s emerge and make 2019 The Year of The Professional Woman!