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From the Locker Room to Silicon Valley: Career Advice for Women in Male-Dominated Workplaces

SherryThe following excerpt is from a contributed article to Fast Company:
Career Advice from one of the First-Ever Female Sportscasters

As one of the first female sportscasters in the country, it wasn’t unusual for me to be the only woman in the locker room. In fact, I’ve spent my entire career working in male-dominated fields, first as a broadcast journalist for FOX and ABC affiliates, and later working in, then running, marketing departments in Silicon Valley.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 9.23.07 AMWhile the U.S. has come a long way since passing the Equal Pay Act in 1963, gender equality in the workplace remains elusive. Particularly in male-dominated fields, women often face challenges that go far beyond the wage gap. Researchers from Indiana University, for instance, recently found that women in mostly male workplaces experience more stress due to social isolation, performance pressures, obstacles to mobility, and coworkers’ doubts about their competence.

To help cope with—and succeed—despite all that, here are some tips for women in male-dominated workplaces that I picked up in locker rooms and have taken with me to Silicon Valley.

NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS
Whether you’re quizzing a Hall of Fame quarterback after a game or pressing a strategic point with the CEO of your company, it’s never easy to raise difficult issues. When you’re the only female reporter in a clutch of 30 male sportscasters or the lone professional woman sitting around a boardroom table, the inclination to retreat to the background can be powerful. Just remember that it’s your job to speak up when the situation calls for it, regardless of your gender. Asking tough questions may not make you popular, but the answers can ultimately lead to better business decisions.

Read the full Fast Company article with my additional tips for women in male-dominated workplaces that I picked up in locker rooms and have taken with me to Silicon Valley.

Sherry Lowe
VP Corporate Marketing
Splunk Inc.

Sherry Lowe
Posted by Sherry Lowe

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