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the courage to lead: practical strategies to thrive in male-dominated industries

In navigating the complexities of male-dominated sectors, female leaders carve out new directions. We discussed with Claudia Eder, Head of Brand & Communications at Austria’s largest job portal, the practical strategies that assist women in these environments. It's not just about climbing the career ladder; it's about redefining the workplace to be more inclusive, equitable, and rich in diversity.

unseen barriers: the silent struggle 🤐

At the beginning of their careers, women often face numerous invisible barriers. "Especially in Austria, a significant issue is the disparity in part-time work due to caregiving duties," notes Claudia Eder, Head of Brand & Communications at Austria’s biggest job portal While only 13% of men work part-time, a staggering 51% of women do*. These numbers reveal the systemic bias that women face — from gender and age biases to entrenched stereotypes in language and imagery.

strategies for success in male-dominated areas

For women aiming high, the climb to leadership demands more than hard work; it requires strategic savvy. Here are the critical steps:

1. mastering argumentation 🗣

"Work on your argumentation skills, prep for discussions with solid facts & figures, and exercise your confidence in presenting it," Claudia advises. The ability to articulate your point effectively is a formidable tool in any leader's arsenal.

2. challenging perfectionism

Statistics reveal that women tend to set higher standards of perfection for themselves, which can be counterproductive. "Don’t pressure or limit yourself until you are perfect at something," Claudia suggests, encouraging women to pursue progress over perfection.

3. building a supportive network 🤝

"Connect, exchange, and reflect. Mentors play a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of women leaders." recommends Claudia as active mentor of the female factor network. This approach underscores the power of mentorship and networking. An active network provides fresh perspectives and can be a source of empowerment, especially when navigating male-dominated spaces.

4. find your role models (or be your own) 💁‍♀️

Personal narratives of women who have climbed to leadership roles in these sectors offer valuable insights. Claudia shares her own experience: "I spoke up to get a promotion. And I got it." This story serves as a testament to the power of self-advocacy and the importance of seizing opportunities rather than waiting for them.

5. resilience is key 🗝

Coaching is highly recommended for building resilience and maintaining confidence. "It helps to sort out dilemmas and ways to handle them," Claudia states, emphasizing the importance of a support system for women in challenging times. Prioritizing self-care is crucial for sustaining the energy required to overcome obstacles.

a call to action for companies: implementing equity in the workplace

Addressing in-group bias demands more than just recognition—it requires actionable change. Claudia Eder from highlights the importance of introducing bias trainings for recruiters and leaders, ensuring decisions in hiring and promotions are based on facts, not preconceived notions. Furthermore, she underscores the need for strategies such as promoting job-sharing in leadership roles and enhancing child care support, which can help break down traditional stereotypes and enable a more inclusive workplace culture. These initiatives are crucial steps toward an environment where diversity in leadership is not just encouraged but is a natural outcome of equitable practices.

Claudia concludes with a piece of advice for women with their sights set on leadership: "Be bold and go for decisions if you are stuck; don’t stay in an environment where you can’t grow." This sentiment encapsulates the essence of the journey — a blend of audacity, authenticity, and the relentless pursuit of growth.

about Claudia Eder:

Claudia Eder brings a wealth of experience from hospitality to FMCG, to building sector and IT, shaping brand strategies at Her expertise in male-dominated fields equips her to mentor emerging leaders at the female factor, with a focus on resilience and diversity.


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