Industrial design has always been a particularly male dominated industry, we've discussed this before here at Core77. The Wall Street Journal has some tips for female professionals joining such lopsided environments that may be of use to us grils. Here's a snippet,
Make sure women are valued. Before joining a firm in a male-dominated industry, make sure the company values and promotes women. Check to see if women are represented on the board and in leadership positions at the company, says Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives, a women's business association in New York. During the interview process, consider asking to speak with female employees to get their input and contact human resources to ask about policies like maternity leave.
Identify alpha and beta males. Separate the two types of men in the office and engage accordingly, says Christopher Flett, founder of Ghost CEO, a professional development program for women. Alpha males have a "get it done" mind-set, so when speaking to an alpha co-worker, use "goal-oriented" language and get to the point quickly, says Mr. Flett. Beta males are more concerned with collaboration and partnership, so tailor your language accordingly.
Find a mentor. Look for a female employee at your company to mentor you. She can provide you with a built-in support system and can help you figure out the lay of the land, says Raylie Dunkel, an executive coach and director of development with the Women's Leadership Exchange. If you can't find someone in the company, join a professional organization and build connections there. Mentors with direct experience in a male-dominated workplace can offer invaluable advice to navigating tricky situations. (Note: you may find that some men can be extremely valuable mentors as well, so don't think it has to be a female, particularly if the organization has a shortage of them)
The other three points are to speak assertively, socialize with the boys and to not assume stereotypical roles. You can read the whole article here. Do you have any tips of your own, as a designer, to share with us? (maybe some tips for the guys?)
Niti Bhan focuses on offering strategic insight for growth opportunities and revenue generation in the rapidly evolving interstitial space between design and business. Her 15 years of experience include employers such McCann Erickson Worldwide, Hewlett Packard India, The Second City and most recently, the Institute of Design. She is an engineer and an MBA whose most significant achievement in the field of design has been dropping out of two graduate design programs on two continents in two centuries - the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Institute of Design, Chicago. Her areas of interest are business intelligence and trends, business strategy as well as creating a compelling user case for design as force for increasing value.