So you got offered a new job — congratulations! Now here's the catch: Your job would be with a male-dominated company. While you shouldn't ever turn down a job just because there are a lot of men who work there (after all, the company may be trying to diversify, and you could be their first step toward achieving that goal!), there are some important questions you may want to ask yourself before taking this position.
Here are seven questions to consider before accepting a job at a male-dominated company.
1. Does this company pay women equally?
Unfortunately, the gender pay gap is real. Women still earn .85 cents to the male dollar and, in male-dominated industries like STEM, the gender pay gap is even wider. In fact, in science, male researchers who earn PhDs expect to earn median annual salaries of US$88,000, which compares to $70,000 for women with PhDs, according to the US National Science Foundation’s annual census.
Do your research on the average market salary to be sure that you'll be paid fairly for your work with this male-dominated company before you take the job.
2. Does this manager mansplain?
Mansplaining is a thing that happens. We don't like it. We wish it didn't occur. But it does.
The word 'mansplaining' was arguably coined after Rebecca Solnit's 2008 essay "Men Explain Things to Me," which is now also the title of her 2014 collection of essays in which she shares personal stories all too familiar for women in the working world — especially in male-dominated companies. Mansplaining is, in short, what happens when a man explains something with a certain kind of unwarranted and unfounded arrogance. It's not when a man is simply explaining something (no, you can't call 'mansplaining' every type a man shares an explanation of anything ever); rather, it happens when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending manner.
"Mansplaining is, at its core, a very specific thing — it's what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he's talking to does," according to the Merriam Webster dictionary.
Look out for mansplaining in your interview in order to get a good idea of whether or not your manager will mansplain to you throughout your career there.
3. Do the higher-ups in this company manterrupt?
Manterrupting is another term that's become popular in recent years as ever more women break into male-dominated industries. In fact, research suggests that men speak up to 75 percent more in meetings and are more likely to interrupt (and are almost three times as likely to interrupt women) as they are to interrupt other men. So take note of how your hiring manager interacts with you in your interview. If they tend to interrupt you often, take note of it — it could be a reflection of how they'll treat you in the future.
4. Are there any women in lead positions at the company?
Although women hold almost 52 percent of all management- and professional-level jobs, they're still largely stuck behind men in leadership positions — in male-dominated industries, especially. For example, in the legal profession, they are 45 percent of associates but only 22.7 percent of partners and 19 percent of equity partners. Meanwhile, in finance, women represent just 12.5 percent of chief financial officers in Fortune 500 companies.
If there are no other women in lead positions at the company, could this be because women don't get promoted in this company? Make sure you have a path forward with this company because you don't want to work where there's a glass ceiling.
5. Are their benefits that appeal to women like you at this company?
Does this company have benefits that may appeal to you as a woman — such as professional growth and development programs, training, gym memberships, childcare services, paid maternity leave, etc.? If there are few women in the office, they may not have all the benefits that women like you would want or may need. So be sure you're offered an attractive benefits package, on top of that fair salary, before saying yes to a male-dominated company.
6. Will your manager spend time mentoring you?
Since the #MeToo movement, research has reported that many male leaders actually avoid women in the workplace so as to not be wrongly accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. Research shows that some men are evading engagement with women altogether, such as individual meetings with female entrepreneurs, potential recruits and women who ask for informational or networking meetings.
As such, women are missing out on mentoring opportunities that can help them succeed in their careers. It’s no secret that having advocates plays a significant role in one’s success, so make sure that the men in this male-dominated company will spend the time with you, too.
7. Is there a diversity plan in place?
If you're being offered a job for a position in a male-dominated company, you could be the first move the company is making toward diversifying its staff. You could be the change we all want to see! But you also can't bear the burden of being that change on your own — nor should you. Make sure the company is actually making a real effort to diversify, and that you're not just going to serve as its token women.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.