Combating stereotypes, arriving at solutions

A conference workshop entitled `The Lady Technologist or One of the Boys' examined ways to deal with problems encountered by women in the workplace. Here are highlights: Stereotypes female technicians must overcome: Lacking in self-confidence Easily intimidated Good at taking direction but lacking in leadership qualities Helpless when it comes to dealing directly with a problem Emotional Not entirely feminine Recommended strategies:

The most important element to develop is self-confidence.

Understand the game so you know how to play it. Make your own rules. But this does not mean using feminine wiles.

When you present an idea, know its weak points so somebody else won't point them out and zap your contribution. Communicate what's in it for them. When discussing your ideas along with others, don't be an antagonist. Say, ``These are the pluses and minuses of Jim's idea,'' so you don't put him down. Acknowledge what's good in men's ideas.

Develop an appropriate sense of humor and flash it. Cracking a joke can break the tension.

When confronted with an attitude you can't change, let it be and find what will work for you. Back off. General solutions:

Solutions lie in how you hold yourself, in your self-confidence.

Take control of developing yourself. Create your own opportunities.

If you find others talking down to you, ask yourself, How do I sound? Don't be tentative, saying, ``I think, maybe, I suppose, etc.''

If you're looked upon as a lady, men have more respect for you. ``Lady'' means dignity, poise, and self-respect and these command respect. Communicate that you expect men to respect you.

Get support from other women.

Position yourself for visibility.

If you're not given information or are given the wrong information, ask for better information from another source.

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