Against the Wind
How women can be their authentic selves in male-dominated professions
- Women chose to enter male-dominated professions, such as the military, police or emergency services, for many reasons - a sense of purpose and to serve the community, or the nation. These and other industries, such as mining, banking and even law firms, also attract women who like a challenge, are seeking personal gratification and satisfaction in a less traditional occupation or believe they can make a difference. All admirable reasons.
But for many women, the reality is that they lose themselves in conforming to institutions built by men for men and despite their biological sex, women often adopt gendered masculine stereotypical behaviour more culturally accepted in combat, or on the streets, down the coal mine, or in the court room. They become blind to the systemic discrimination and cultural barriers that make it hard, even in 2019, for women to reach senior levels of leadership. They do this to ‘survive’ in their chosen profession.
Against the Wind provides practical ‘how to’ strategies to overcome the challenges, adversity, complexities, and obstacles that women can face throughout their careers. Author, Jennifer Wittwer, uses her extensive military experience to demonstrate how overcoming the obstacles and challenges of male-dominated professions, and taking opportunities, can enable every woman to ‘be what they can’t see’.
Using a model that reflects this, Jennifer proposes strategies that will empower women to step up, own their own space, use their voice, and be heard. Against the Wind is an informative, comprehensive and easy-to-follow journey in which Jennifer that encourages women to:
• Tackle the ‘firsts’ that still exist in their profession, say yes to opportunities and work out how later, and find and follow their passions
• Find their strengths, by being more self-aware, value their contribution, and say no to ‘imposter syndrome’
• Build their resilience through overcoming adversity and challenges, and find the silver lining
• Take new directions in their career and life, promote themselves unapologetically, and create their brand
• Think B.I.G – Big and Bold Goals, celebrate women that achieve the ‘firsts’, and find their voice
Becoming ‘what you can’t see’ and aspiring to more than conformity and sameness in the workplace, is more than achievable. It’s a necessity. For women, for businesses or organizations, and for social impact and change.
- Jennifer Wittwer, CSM, is a passionate, award winning expert and consultant on gender mainstreaming in security sector organisations and peace and security efforts, and is dedicated to highlighting the importance of women’s representation and participation in armed forces, police organisations and other male-dominated professions. With thirty eight years service in the Royal Australian Navy, she was instrumental in leading Defence's implementation of national and international commitments on the United Nations Women, Peace and Security agenda. In recent years she has worked for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels and Afghanistan, and for the United Nations in New York, Ukraine and Jordan. Jennifer’s success in her chosen field came at a price early in her career, but she chose to see the silver lining; an opportunity to support and advocate for women’s ‘voices’ and difference in a hyper-masculine institution that promoted 'gender-sameness’ instead of gender equality. Jennifer’s ‘be what you can’t see' model, based on moving past her early career limitations and aspirations to fulfil her potential, and be a more authentic female officer, is balanced against the historical and current environment of male-dominated professions in which women still choose to serve. Mawson, ACT
- * The book is unique because I have used my experiences in the Australian military to formulate a model, by which women can see that being their authentic selves in a male-dominated profession will enable them to fulfil their potential, achieve success and lead in a way that works for them.
*This book was written to share my military experiences, both positive and negative, and show that using my ‘voice’ propelled me from humble beginnings as a young trainee officer with limited choices and aspirations, to unique opportunities working for international organisations around the world, without the benefit of role models and mentors. In my journey of over thirty seven years, I found myself along the way and learnt to say ‘yes’ and work out how later!
* Professional women of all ages working in male-dominated professions will see this book as a guide to ‘being what they can’t see’. It will let them feel they are not alone, that their obstacles and challenges can be overcome, and that through their unique experiences, they can find and follow their passion.
* Business networks, mainstream media outlets, social media, launch at Avril Henry's Women's Leadership Program in March 2020.
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