How to Beat the Boys Club

Though women comprise roughly half the workforce, they're still woefully underrepresented in engineering and technical trades. So what does a gal competing in a testosterone-choked office need to know to compete? We asked Roxanne Rivera, author of There's No Crying in Business: How Women Can Succeed in Male-Dominated Industries.

Brace yourself for some hazing. "Men want to test women," Rivera says. "I call it the can-she-take-it test. They tease and can be a little crude — most of the time, a woman can tell the difference between that kind of behavior and sexual harassment." Annoying, but nothing to make a fuss over. "Suck it up and move on," Rivera advises.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Go ahead — be a bitch. Rivera warns of women so afraid of being labeled a bitch that they go out of their way to be accommodating. The result: Male colleagues invariably take advantage of these well-meaning saps. "Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and say no to things. Some men are going to call you a bitch no matter what you do," she says.

Do not cry. Ever. "It's the ultimate no-no. Nothing will destroy your credibility faster," Rivera says. She advises women to leave the office for a spell if it means avoiding shedding tears in front of colleagues. Whatever it takes, keep your composure.

Find female allies fast. Working exclusively with men can quickly become infuriating — the bathroom humor, the alpha-dog bravado. Women who don't have a support system tend to lose their cool with the wrong people and come across as lone wolves. "It seems really obvious, but find a female buddy if you don't want to burn out," Rivera says.

More from Marie Claire:
Career
Share
Sarah Michelle Gellar's Second Act? Disrupting the Food Industry
Career
Share
Starbucks Employees Speak Out: Why Don't Baristas Get the Same Maternity Leave as Corporate Workers?
Google wage gap
Career
Share
Discrimination Against Women Is "Extreme" at Google
Career
Share
Rejoice: You'll Get 20 Percent Off at These Retailers on Equal Pay Day
Career
Share
YouTube Star Lilly Singh Shares Her Bawse Moves for Total Career Domination
Career
Share
This Company Is Paying Someone $10,000 a Month to Travel and Live in Luxury Homes
Career
Share
Proof That Big Risks Pay Off: 3 Women Who Owe Their Success to Not Playing It Safe
GIF
Career
Share
Why This Model Left the Glitzy World of Fashion for the Gritty Life of Bullfighting
Career
Share
What I Wish I Said to the Recruiter Who Shamed Me into a Lower Salary
Career
Share
11 Things Powerful Women Do Every Day
Created for Bumble