Successful Women in Male Dominated Industries Throughout the World

Mar/28/2023 / by Melanie Fourie
Women in Male Dominated Industries
Image credits: Pavel Danilyuk via Pexels

The days of male-dominated industry patriarchy are over, and women no longer have to be treated as second-class citizens. Younger generations of women all across the globe have been able to silence their critics and make their mark by speaking out for what they believe in. Even in the complex and challenging world of business, the world has its share of gutsy and courageous women who have shattered all preconceptions. Let us take a moment to applaud the bravery of six successful women in male dominated industries! 

Ramandeep Nayar, CFO, Global Risk, American Express

In 2007, Ramandeep Nayar left General Electric for an internship with American Express. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Punjab University in India, and her master’s degree in business administration in finance from Simon Business School at the University of Rochester in 2008.
Ramandeep is recognized as a corporate thought leader for her innovative and creative approach, as well as her track record of success in creating successful strategies for portfolios that span several industries, countries, and product lines.

Linda Höglund , COO, Klarna

Linda Höglund, who grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, and then moved to Singapore to work for the super-app Grab, came back to the company she had previously left to become its Chief Operating Officer in 2021. After beginning her professional life as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, she joined the BNPL behemoth in May 2011 as an executive. During her stint as Klarna’s chief financial officer, she travelled often between Stockholm and Singapore. She oversaw 50 people throughout the world in the finance department as a member of the management team that set the company’s development and direction.

Ghinwa Baradhi, CFO, HSBC

Ghinwa Baradhi is one of the world’s top CIO banking executives, having more than 25 years of expertise in enterprise change management and operating inside significant multinational financial services settings.
She is an energetic and creative executive with a track record of success managing cross-functional, worldwide, virtual resource teams in business and information technology. She is HSBC’s designated Sponsor for Diversity & Inclusion in Technology throughout the world and also represents the company on the IT Committee of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF).

Amy Hunn, VP of Construction & Facilities for Floyd’s 99 Barbershop

More than a hundred locations of Floyd’s 99 Barbershop may be found around the country. Hunn is responsible for the design, building, and opening of all new stores, as well as the continuous upkeep of existing corporately owned and operated sites, in her role as the company’s vice president of construction and facilities. She explains that she enjoys her job because it allows her to produce a pleasant atmosphere that encourages innovation for their staff, as well as an enjoyable experience and nostalgic setting for customers.

Barbershops and hairstylists were among the first businesses to feel the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak. They were one of the first businesses to be banned throughout the nation. When they finally got the green light to reopen, they ran into a lot of red tape since laws varied widely from state to state. Most significantly, they needed to find ways to ensure employee and customer safety in a sector where contactless technology is not feasible.

 Building her confidence and gaining the respect of her male co-workers was Hunn’s biggest struggles as a woman in the male-dominated construction sector. At age 22, she took over management of Floyd’s 99 Barbershop’s building expansion. Hunn advises other influential working women to learn to realize their skills and what they offer. 

Emilie Choi President and COO, Coinbase

Emilie Choi has a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in economics from Johns Hopkins University. She is a creative and imaginative business executive who worked closely with Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to create the platform. Emilie is also an avid angel investor, having participated in the seed, Series A, and B investment rounds for a wide range of thriving fintech businesses.

Isabel Jimeno Fernández, Corporation CIO, Santander 

Isabel has been the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Santander for 8 years, during which time she has established herself as a remarkable and forward-thinking leader in her field. Directora Infraestructuras at Produban before joining Santander, she had a strong reputation in the industry as an innovative decision-maker and accomplished negotiator. She is a brilliant individual, but her skills aren’t limited to the financial sector. Isabel is a highly educated woman with a history in technology; she earned her Master of Science from CUA University in Washington, DC, and her Bachelor of Science in Physics from the Universidad Complutense.

So How Does One Survive as a Woman In a Male-Dominated Industry?

Form a Group of Female Connections

Having a network of women you can depend on and learn from is invaluable in a sector traditionally dominated by males. It might be challenging to network with other women in your industry, and you might be sceptical of all-female gatherings, as I was. However, if you have a strong desire to advance your career in a field dominated by men, you will make connections and expand your sphere of influence.

Have Faith in Your Judgments

When I’m the only woman in a room, whether it’s the COC or a boardroom, I try to remember to stand tall, keep my voice even and steady, and listen carefully to the information I need to make good judgments.
Although you may try to get all the relevant data, there are situations when you just won’t have enough. And there will be moments when you have to make choices with incomplete data. Sometimes people are also too hesitant to take action because they’re waiting for additional data before making a decision. However, being afraid of what others may think will just waste your time and prevent you from earning the respect you deserve at work. It’s sometimes best to take bold, immediate action, and have confidence in your judgment, knowing that you are acting in the best interest of the team.

Put an end to destructive comparisons and competition, and accept your value 

Especially in the STEM fields, it’s important to avoid constant comparison to your peers.
We engage in competition with those who have an advantage over us and who possess what we want. It’s not wrong or terrible to compete under these conditions; in fact, it helps us grow and develop into better people. However, it seems that healthy levels of competitiveness amongst women in the economic sphere are regularly exceeded.

Knowing your value and appreciating your work can help you stand out from the crowd. Recognize your worth and promote people to higher positions to get the respect of your peers and superiors.

Take advice from people of all genders

To achieve your goals, you do not need exclusive assistance from a female mentor. A male mentor is an option, as well. Some of the most influential guys in my life have also been my mentors. Having a male mentor may be quite beneficial since sometimes these guys are already in positions of leadership and power and can help you rise up the ranks along with them.

It’s important to have several role models to look up to. Imagine a board of directors in this case. Some of our role models often include technological wizards, business whizzes, and those who have mastered the art of juggling work and family responsibilities. There is enormous value in having a female mentor who has gone through what you may be going through and can provide advice based on her own experiences.

You can’t always expect someone to support your individual growth in every way. To us, it makes more sense to zero in on the specific skill set you want to hone and locate a mentor who specializes in that field, than it does to search for a mentor who happens to be a woman. 


What’s it like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry?

To name just one, societal attitudes and expectations regarding women’s leadership qualities are only one of many obstacles women confront in male-dominated businesses. As an example, the stereotype of the nurturing mom or the professional housekeeper is quite common. Anxiety and stress levels are higher than in other professions for women in male-dominated industries.


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