“As a woman currently majoring in the business field, will I have a more difficult time finding a job after school as opposed to men? What can I expect the stigma to be of women in a business work place?”
Callan is currently a senior studying Accounting at Fairfield University. She has been involved with numerous leadership positions on campus, including her role as a New Student Leader and a First Year Mentor. In the spring of 2013, Callan studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she was able to volunteer with a non-profit organization that aimed to improve the quality of life children with disabilities. Click here to learn more about Callan.
We are lucky to be living at a time in which a lot of progress has already been made with regards to women in the workforce. In fact, many companies today have special programs and initiatives to help women through the recruiting process and to support female employees specifically. For example, many companies that recruit on college campuses will hold diversity information sessions or special office visits for women. Make sure to look into these opportunities, as they provide valuable networking opportunities and can offer an upper hand in the interview process.
Additionally, being a woman can actually help you in the hiring process as many companies are trying to incorporate more women into their ranks. Despite this, companies will still expect women to perform at the same level as all their other employees, whether in an interview or office setting, so make sure to prepare for your interviews and always perform to the highest standard.
One thing to also make note of is that certain offices are known for having cultures that are more accepting of women than others. For example, Google is a great example of a company that has taken extra steps to accommodate the needs of women. Definitely do your research; you can even reach out to alumni from your school working at companies you are interested in to see what the office culture is like in regards to women.
While a lot of progress has been made for women in business, you may still face challenges as a woman in the workplace. Sheryl Sandberg addresses many of these challenges in her book Lean In and also explains ways that women can approach issues that they may face. I would highly recommend reading this book or watching some of the educational videos on the Lean In website that explain how you can navigate things like negotiation, which often require different strategies by women and men.
However, remember that this book and website are only a guide— every situation is unique, and therefore many situations will require different approaches or solutions. Once you are in an office environment, one of the best things that you can do is network with other women, particularly senior women whose experience can make them great mentors for you. These women who are familiar with the office culture can act as advocates for you and help you address difficult situations that may arise.
Ultimately, while it is important to be aware of the difficulties of being a woman entering the business field, it is important to not let this keep you from pursuing careers or internships that interest you. Any challenges you may face are almost always manageable with the right approach!
Charlotte is a current junior at Stanford University and will graduate in 2015 with a B.A. in Economics. On campus she is a member of Stanford Women in Business, Alpha Phi, and 85 broads. She has also participated in Stanford’s Freshmen Council and the Stanford Ceramics Club. Taking part in these clubs has helped her to gain incredible insight. She encourages everyone to take part in clubs such as these! Click here to learn more about Charlotte.
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