• Cathy Melton

How to Compete and WIN in a Patriarchy Environment



Let's first define what a Patriarch Environment is. It's an environment that subscribes to male norms, between men held control in leadership positions and women held subordinate roles. This can include ideology, monetary, influence, and moral authority.


The purpose of this post is not intended as a political one, nor does this address abusive behaviors. The purpose, is about empowerment for those who need encouragement to achieve their highest and greatest potential.


My story goes back in time when growing up as the youngest child in a large family. Not only did I have to compete with older siblings, I had to find a way to stand out and away from their shadows. As an athlete, I played side by side with my older brother. There wasn't anything he could do that I couldn't do; or at least I believed it to be true.


My first encounter in a Patriarchy environment, was when I was elected to serve on a transition Board from a powerful corporate subsidiary to an Owner's Association. There were 7 Board members, and I was the only woman on the Board. The first Executive Meeting, had the greatest impact on how I view and interact within a Patriarchy environment. I learned very quickly, the power struggle between men, intimidation tactics used against opposing opinions, and those used against the lone woman on the Board. The environment was at times toxic, hostile, funny, fun, and demanding. To survive, I had to learn how to think fast, think factually, react slowly and to keep my emotions in tact.


Most men in a Patriarchy environment, are physical in thought and action. Anger is the driving emotion in most dominant men. They are easily angered, easily reactive, ego driven, and most have the ability to forget the emotional stuff and move on. It is important to review these traits again. Memorize them. Understand how men act and think, because understanding these traits, will allow you to strategize on how to effectively compete and win.


How to compete and win.


1) Develop your emotional intelligence. Learn how to control your emotions.


2) Develop the skill to think quickly on your feet. HINT: Become the Expert. Know your stuff.


3) Develop the skill of listening


4) Develop the skill of not reacting.


5) Intimidation: Don't meet aggressive energy with equal energy. Learn how to stand your ground without flinching and without caving into their demands. Don't be cocky either. Remain stoic. (My stoic face has a smile)


6) LET IT GO! Don't hold onto grudges.


7) Never gossip about anyone. What you say and do will be held against you. Don't take the bait.


8) Develop your own personal Brand. (Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.) It involves your look, from head to toe. It involves how you stand, project, sound and behave. You don't want to be anyone but yourself. Discover and own it.


9) Be consistent with your values and standards.


10) Know your strengths and weaknesses. Stay within your strength zone.


Remember, don't be someone whom you are not. Discovering who you are is a lifelong journey because every new phase in life, will require a newer version of you.


Keep in mind, depression, stress and anxiety, are due to personal behaviors. Depression means you are living in the past. Stress and anxiety means you are worrying about the future. The way to master these, is to develop skill sets to help you manage how you react to problems or situations. Mastering these skill sets will help you to compete and win.




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