A future shaper is someone who positively influences a community, a company or a society. It’s someone who makes impactful and progressive change. This month we’re introducing you to 12 Future Shapers brought to you by Audi in the Power Issue of Marie Claire, and online we’re exploring how you can become a dynamic leader in your own industry. Women in the workplace still encounter unfairness, particularly in male-dominated industries: this is evidenced in the gender pay gap in South Africa. Here’s how you can make sure that your ideas are heard.

1. Foster Your Confidence

If you are being undermined consistently in the workplace, you need to do something about it. Be deliberate about it, remind yourself of who you are, and what you’re worth. Acknowledge your own accomplishments – don’t forget them. Let them fortify you. While an industry or workplace does not acknowledge your value, the worst thing you can do is to internalise this. Carry yourself with confidence, stand by your opinions and speak with conviction.

2. Refuse to be Patronised 

This is easier said than done. Don’t allow people to interrupt you in meetings. Challenge it when conversations are exclusive, or your colleagues are either sidelining or hijacking your ideas.

3. Support Fellow Women Employees 

When you see that a fellow woman employee is having her voice drowned out, acknowledge her and what she’s saying visibly in the workplace. This will cultivate a culture of solidarity and support. Unfortunately, women still have to fight to be heard more often than not. Unity and support can help to create an environment where women’s input is equally valued.

4. Stop Apologising

  • For your presence
  • For your contributions
  • Before you say something
  • For taking time to explain your ideas
  • For your body language

If you find yourself working for a company that doesn’t value your ideas, ignores your insights and downplays your work ethic, it can be difficult to stay motivated. Be bold, be determined and try some of these points to keep your conviction in becoming the innovative leader you know you can be.