Career 101: Do Strong Women Intimidate Men?
When it comes to our career, there are many disturbing statistics for women. In America, women only earn 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Australia has one of the highest educated female populations in the world (source). But the gender wage gap has hardly moved for the past two decades. This means that some women return to work after having children for just $3.44 an hour (source).
I know this has started off as a depressing blog post. But that isn't my aim. These statistics don't describe the amazing things that women do. They don’t describe how many women work damn hard to make the best career possible.
We might have lower pay than men and get treated differently in some workplaces. The reason why? It's usually because we're strong minded, confident, self-assured women. Some men like that. Some men don't. But the real question is, are they intimidated by strong women? Or is it something else that bothers them?
Before I start, I'd just like to clear up my idea of a strong, independent woman. I read an article saying women shouldn’t have to tell people they're strong. Or independent. I don't think this either.
For me, the strongest women know their own minds, are self-assured and not afraid to dream. But more importantly, they're happy.
Let's Talk About Relationships
A problem for men is when a woman brings home personality traits from her career. This could mean she's decisive, and opinionated. That's fine at work. But at home with your partner? Not so much. We all know what men are like. They don't want to feel like they are 'less' than their partners. And we feel the same. It's important in relationships to be equal. If a woman comes home to her boyfriend acting like she does at work, he won't be able to handle it.
But there are some qualities men do look for that women use in their careers. Intelligence, motivation and subtle confidence to name a few. Sharing those features in a relationship deletes the intimidation. It puts both people on a more equal level.
What About Qualifications?
This is where I've found the most problems to arise. In the past, women were stereotypically known as housewives. Now, there's nothing wrong with that. But the stereotype has changed. Before, it conveyed women as weak and sometimes unintelligent.
Now "successful women in their late 30's are significantly more likely to walk down the aisle than their less accomplished sisters." (source) There isn't a law that says you have to have a degree to be successful. I fully support people who don't go to university. There are plenty of us out there who have started a business with no degree. Sometimes, you can find it makes things harder when you've got one.
Most places I've worked at have loved the fact that I've got a masters degree. They know I'm qualified enough to do the jobs I apply for. Combine that with experience and I've worked hard to position myself in a great place when it comes to my career.
But unfortunately, some men don't believe that's a good thing.
Last week I spoke about how to change someone's impression of you. In one of my workplaces, my boss made me feel as if having a masters degree was a bad thing. He set me on a pedestal because of it. He believed that what was on paper didn't reflect what I could do with my skills.
At the time I was crushed. Doing a masters degree is hard work, but so worthwhile.
Now, I realise why he said all this to me. He was intimidated. Why? Because I was more qualified than him and knew more than him. And he didn't like that.
Is There A Balance?
I guess there are two ways to look at this.
The first is that some men will be completely supportive of you. Regardless of whether you have a degree or not. Regardless of whether you have the most skills or not. If they think you can do the job and will be a good fit for the company, they’ll hire you.
The second is that some men will dislike the fact that you are a confident woman. There's something about confidence that differentiates men. My partner loves that I'm confident. But I know that some men don't like confident women.
At the bottom of it all, there's just one thing to remember. The job has to be the right fit for you. It's so easy to say yes when you're offered a position. But you have to decide if it's what you want. If you accept, don't worry if people find you intimidating or not. You can always show them what you're worth.
Do you think strong women intimidate men?
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