Young "professional," Providence College grad, above average procrastinator, reality tv…
It is neither shocking nor unheard of that women and men are treated differently in the workplace. In fact, I witnessed it first hand a few years ago when I worked as a waitress at a country club. A boy and I were hired the same day, had the same training, and the same backgrounds. However, halfway through the summer our hourly wages came up (a casual conversation between friends). I learned that his starting hourly rate was a whole 50 cents higher than mine to do the same job. Ironically, he spent a lot more time goofing off and I found myself picking up the slack on side work. I was obviously confused and angry, however, I never said anything about it as money talk and confrontation made me uncomfortable, and I didn’t understand the importance of why women need to be assertive in the workforce.
Not only was I being paid less, but women also have to deal with the “pink tax” on products, which meant that overall I was underpaid and overcharged everyday items (i.e., deodorant, razors, shampoo, etc.). Obviously, this is unfair and has to change. So why are some women more inclined to be submissive? Is it because when women are assertive they’re viewed as a bitch? Could it go back to previous social constructs when women didn’t have rights and were supposed to be quiet and be pretty? Why was I too intimidated to speak with my manager about the discrepancy? I’m not sure. Regardless, here are 10 reasons why women need to be more assertive in the workforce.
1. If you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it.
Why would they pay me 50 cents more an hour when I was fine with the lower rate I was given? Women and men should be paid the same amount for the same job, and women and men should be treated the same way for doing the same job.
2. Be the change you want to see.
Nothing will change unless you are assertive. As women, we need to do a better job at supporting each other, and one way to do this is for women to be educated about these issues and to be on the same page. If one woman raises an issue about unequal pay and a company can find someone who will do the job without complaining, things can get tricky and perpetuate the cycle. A big reason why women need to be assertive in the workforce is so that other women in the workplace can be stronger too.
3. Set a precedent for respect.
If you want to gain respect you need to demand respect. I don’t mean demand in a bossy or aggressive way, but your body language, action, and speech all communicate how you should be treated. If you act overly nice people may start to take advantage and walk all over you. Being assertive will earn people’s respect.
4. You will start to see the results you desire.
When you communicate directly and effectively, the entire company will be more efficient. Using a phrase like, “Sorry to bother you but..” is submissive and lacks self-confidence. Don’t apologize for doing your job or asking the questions you need to. When you are assertive you won’t get walked all over, in over your head, or burnt out.
5. Your confidence will be elevated.
Your voice, opinions, and thoughts are just as important as your coworker’s. Once you realize your value your quality of life will drastically improve. It is proven that people listen to and trust confident people over their less confident counterparts.
6. It improves your self-awareness.
If you are assertive (not aggressive) with communication you will be better able to understand yourself and gain clarity
7. It will remove feelings that lead to passive-aggressive behavior.
When your needs aren’t being met and you feel slighted, you might have a tendency to act passive aggressively, which is never a good thing. If you are communicative you won’t feel as jealous or bitter.
8. You will better understand others.
Another positive reason why women need to be assertive in the workforce and use assertive communication is that it can remove anxiety and allow you to work with your coworkers towards a common goal. When you are submissive you may be too nervous to ask questions, to share your thoughts, or to work well on a team.
9. It prevents you from being overlooked.
They say the opposite of love is indifference. My point is, the last thing you want is for people to feel indifferent towards your work. If you aren’t even on people’s radar you risk being overlooked for promotions and taking on more responsibility.
10. You will be more successful.
Point blank, being assertive (again, not aggressive) will gain you respect, self-confidence, clarity, understanding, and will benefit not only yourself but the people you work with.
Do you have advice for why women need to be assertive in the workforce? Put it in the comments!
Young "professional," Providence College grad, above average procrastinator, reality tv enthusiast, high profile contributing member of society.