Are You Rolled Out as Token Female?

2womendoctorssmall More companies in male-dominated fields are getting on the bandwagon to attract more talented women in the ongoing war for talent and need to fill skills shortages. While this in itself is a positive step, one side effect that I have seen among some of my executive coaching clients is that they are increasingly "wheeled out" to prospective clients and new recruits as the token female – evidence that they are committed to "diversity". If this happens to you, by all means make yourself available – young women need to be able to see role models in these fields. And your employers are trying to do the right thing in attracting them. Also, it’s also certainly a good profile raiser if it is not just lip service and you get media exposure or the opportunities to speak about your work. However, if it starts to cause problems because it is taking too much time from your day job, bring it to the attention of your manager. Explain that while you support their efforts to attract more women, if you are to take an ongoing role of the "public face" it would be helpful if this new aspect to your role could be recognised and reflected in the amount of the other work you take on. You don’t want to take on these additional responsibilities only to open yourself to criticism for letting your normal responsibilities slip.

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