I would like to respond to the young woman who called regarding being uncomfortable in the "male dominated" world of finance. Since I am no financial guru I cannot comment on the level of "male dominance" in that industry, however I can comment on my own.
I am a 34-year-old consultant in the high rise building sector. For the past 11 years I have been surrounded by men in my business. I should add that I am happily married to a real man, whom I think walks on water and would kick the butt of any shark that tried to come near me. This does not mean, however, that I am a weak woman. 99% of my clients have been middle aged men who run buildings and construction projects. It is rare to come across a woman in this field. In 11 these years I have met TWO women who work in that industry.
For first 5 or so years, when I was in my early 20's, I was flirted with, asked out on dates, talked down to, starred at, ignored and viewed as a "cute young lady" as it was once put, or a lesbian. However, I marched on. I worked my butt off and held my own. In time I became very knowledgeable about buildings mechanical systems and design. Over time the condescending remarks slowly became those of respect and appreciation.
By holding my own and doing my job I PROVED that I was worthy of respect in a world where women are most often a sideshow. This should not reflect poorly on the men in the high rise operations world. Many of them helped, encouraged and taught me along the way early in my career and I owe them everything I know today. Many of them I have now known for a decade and see me as both an equal, a source of advice and a bulldog to be reckoned with when I need to be.
I was even giving the nickname of "The Queen of darkness" by a contractor. Many of them have become mentors to me as well. Real men will not discourage anyone who is willing to put in hard work. So, to the young lady who thought she was just being inappropriately addressed. Act like a REAL woman and find your source of strength in the men around you instead of showing them your own weakness. That is what will bring you the respect you desire. Dress modestly, behave appropriately and you will find your strength in the sea of men.
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