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In honor of Women’s History Month, we are interviewing each of the talented, intelligent, and hardworking women of Milestone Consulting. Last year, we asked: What are some of the main struggles women still face in the workforce, and how are professionals and businesses working to overcome them? Here’s what Rachel Mathews, Rayah Latiff and Leslie George had to say from their perspectives.

Rachel: Changing the workplace doesn’t just happen overnight. Our modern-day notion of work and the workplace was formed around what works best for men, and it will take a lot of effort and intention to adapt processes and infrastructures to include what works best for women. Seemingly-masculine characteristics get associated with success: being outspoken, bold, competitive, hungry, and willing to put work above all else. These traits may not come as naturally to women, which can result in them seeming timid, not as confident, and sadly, not as intelligent. Women, especially mothers, may need flexibility and a better emphasis on work-life balance. Professionals and businesses are working and can continue to work to overcome these struggles by striving to understand that what works for one person may not work for another; what one person responds to another may not. They can strive to be patient and flexible, and adapt this notion of what the workplace should look like.

Rayah: I’ve seen business elevate hardworking women by placing them in positions that gives them full authority to execute decisions on their own, giving them exposure and presenting them with networking opportunities, bringing to light their accomplishments & celebrating each milestone achieved whenever its due and supporting them and lending a helping hand when necessary.

Leslie: I would have to say that unfortunately, strong capable women are at times still seen as unlikable or too aggressive. It seems that some women in the workforce (and in general) have to walk the tightrope of female assertiveness. We can’t be too nice since that is considered weak nor can we speak too boldly since others may judge that as being hostile.

Women make up ½ of the workforce so it’s inevitable that all types of personalities will be present, just like with male colleagues. But what is noted is that women only make up a portion of executive positions in corporate America. Could a part of that be a woman can be more negatively criticized about her personality over a male counterpart? Could that criticism overshadow work performance or a possible promotion? I can’t say with certainty, but I do feel in my gut that it’s likely played a part for women for decades. However, I have hope now more than ever that we are on the cusp of something great. Technology, gaming, and manufacturing companies are now offering higher referral bonuses for women and minorities since these industries are underrepresented. It’s encouraging to see companies recruiting more strong capable women.

We are living in a newly recharged era; more women are demanding change, equal pay, speaking out about sexual harassment, and racial injustices. Plus more and more women are running for office. What I love about the Women’s Movements is that young children are able to see and hear from strong female voices without judgment. This is their normal. This is what they are growing up with and this is what they will want and expect from female co-workers and bosses.

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