Challenging Meetings for Women in Workforce

Yesterday, I walked in to a boardroom meeting with 3 gentlemen waiting for me to take them through what I had planned to solve their team’s communication challenge.

As soon as I saw dynamics in the room, I knew that I am going to face some challenge today and that awareness really helped me navigate the meeting.

At one stage, I made a statement – Knowledge is not understanding. I saw one of the gentleman smirk and ask me, ” what exactly does that mean?” My response was, ” you can claim to have knowledge about child birth but as a man you cannot claim to have an understanding of it.”

My response was accepted but perhaps not liked. In several such meetings I have realised just being aware that there are indeed workplace biases is a powerful antidote to self doubt, especially for young women in workforce.

So the next time you walk in to a presentation to an executive board and see fourteen men and two women around the table, realise that a slump in your confidence is to be expected, based on a larger forces. Even that recognition can help you move on and not beat yourself up feeling a bit nervous.

It doesn’t mean you need to dwell on the unfairness, and you certainly shouldn’t give up, or complain incessantly, but understanding context and institutional dynamics can help you keep disappointments and challenges in perspective.

Somehow being aware of the challenges that await us gives us the strength to fight them.

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