For years, schools and universities have been throwing out incentives to try and get more women involved in STEM fields. The world of the internet is growing, yet the amount of women in this field is not keeping up with newer demands. So why is it that internet numbers of women are down? Could it be that the field presents unique challenges for females than their male counterparts don’t experience?
Network management is a specific tech field that focuses on computer systems and managing computer networks. Overall, women hold fewer positions of leadership and power than men, and network management is no different. In a mostly male-dominated field, women are expected to go above and beyond to prove themselves worthy of their position. Not to mention challenges with harassment, confidence gaps, and educational backgrounds. If you work in the field of network management as a woman, you are not alone. Let’s examine just a few of the challenges you are overcoming to excel in a tech field.
Women have to prove themselves more often than men.
There are fewer women with degrees and backgrounds in the field.
One reason why network management is a difficult field for women is that few women try to enter it in the first place. Even as more women pursue STEM degrees, the numbers for computer science-specific degrees have gone down. Likewise, retention rates for women who go on to pursue careers in IT or network management have dropped as well. The truth is, women just aren’t as interested in the field.
Appearance matters more for women to be taken seriously.
In an overly sexualized society, how you look matters. Sadly, this is even more important for women. As a leader in the tech field, your appearance needs to be professional and appropriate at all times. From outerwear to women’s jackets to blazers to blouses, you need to dress for success. Dress so you can take command of a room and gain the respect of your employees. You’ll be amazed at what a few wardrobe updates will do for your career.
There is a disparity in confidence between men and women.
In a male-dominated field, you can easily feel out of place. Rather than feeling confident, you’re searching for any justification for why you’re in the room. There is a confidence gap between the genders. According to reports, it will take women eight years to feel as confident with programming as a man with zero to one year of experience. This behavior is a result of years of societal norms holding women back. Take steps to regain your confidence. Speak directly and ask for exactly what you need. The journey to finding more confidence is a personal one that will greatly increase your career success.
The environment can seem unwelcoming.
The environment can make or break your job enjoyment and productivity. Working in a male-dominated field as a woman can make you feel left out, overlooked, or even harassed. Sexual harassment comes in many forms and can sadly be a common occurrence in network management fields. Beyond that, if you are left out from networking meetings or can’t relate to your coworkers, it can be challenging to advance your career or enjoy the work you are doing.