Home    Insight    Insight

Does image play a part in women's career success?

 April 30, 2013

 Read time

A survey in the UK reported similar findings, when 64 per cent of directors said that women who wear make-up look more professional.
Further, it is argued that wearing make-up at work is not just a matter of superficiality. The UK survey found that 18 percent of directors said that women who do not wear make-up “look like they can’t be bothered to make an effort.'' This reinforces a questionable perception that good grooming will translate to well-executed work.
Researching some of the world's most successful women to determine what they believe to be important contributory factors to their achievements, no reference was found to the use of make-up. What was revealed, however, was a list of common traits practiced by leading business women.
Not to be mistaken for timidity, humility is essential as an acknowledgement that no one knows-it-all and allows opportunities for learning. Successful women implement what they have learnt but they also actively seek learning opportunities from different sources, including books and their peers.
The line should be discovered between assertiveness and aggression. Assertiveness is making decisions and having clear reasons for doing so. Being assertive should not be confused with being aggressive as the latter does not develop respect.

Energy can be difficult to sustain when consistently engaging in hard work. The more successful one may become, the greater the need may be to invest in oneself. This is not just in terms of business, but personally, physically and spiritually.  Time spent at the gym, having a massage or meditating may work wonders for rejuvenation.

No woman is an island, so it is important to have a group of people that can offer support in different areas. A business mentor, a reliable baby-sitter and a financial adviser are just some of the people who will make life easier. It is also useful to be part of the support network for others, for assistance in their development.

Determination can also be characterised as ambition. The determination to succeed is what will continue to provide the momentum when faced with obstacles and challenges. The road to success is often a difficult one and the fortitude to continue may help sustain the course.

Positive self-belief should be present before others are expected to believe in a leader. Many people harbour healthy levels of self-doubt however confidence may still prevail. Interesting, accurately knowing someone's levels of confidence is diffcult as only oneself may truly understand  whether confidence demonstrated  is real or false. In fact, false confidence can certainly develop into real confidence.

Many of the traits above can be learnt and developed. Working women can choose to implement and practice these traits, even if they are not in their dream job. Preparation in small or informal situations can certainly prepare women for opportunities at more senior  positions.  While findings from research into using make-up in the workplace should not be dismissed, perhaps more attention can be placed on deeper intrinsic that help drive a confident demeanour.

The author of this blog is Karan Vidal from www.writeandgood.com

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, X, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


Join our women's careers community