Corporate Law

Tips for Women Who Want To Be More Assertive at Work

Women Who Want To Be More Assertive At Work
Assertive woman. Image credit: Adobe Stock.

Women have always had to fight harder for success and recognition in corporate workplaces, yet internalized misogyny holds many women back from accessing their full potential. Women may feel less confident in their professional paths than their male counterparts due to a myriad of factors.

One of these factors is the old myth that women should be less assertive than men in all senses of the word. However, assertiveness in the workplace is a vital aspect of professional development and can significantly enhance how people perceive you as a woman in your role. Below, we explore effective tips for women who want to be more assertive at work.

Rethink How You Communicate

Importantly, assertiveness is not synonymous with aggression. Rather, assertiveness involves clear, confident, and respectful communication. Women aiming to amplify their assertive presence at work should prioritize clarity and confidence in their interactions.

This starts with the choice of words—opting for strong, action-oriented language that conveys certainty. For example, replace tentative phrases like “I just think” with assertive alternatives like “I recommend” or “I propose.”

Additionally, be mindful of nonverbal cues, such as maintaining steady eye contact, employing open body language, and modulating vocal tone to express assurance without hostility.

Know Your Worth and Ask for It

A common hurdle to assertiveness is self-doubt or the undervaluation of one’s contributions. A shift in mindset is necessary to recognize and articulate your value in the workplace. Empower yourself by reflecting on your accomplishments and the unique skills you bring to your role.

Then, leverage this self-awareness to advocate for your ideas, seek opportunities for advancement, and negotiate compensation that reflects your worth. This is especially important when it comes to pay, as one of the ways employers violate the Equal Pay Act is by—though rarely maliciously—paying women less than their male counterparts. Remember that asking for what you deserve is not just a right but a responsibility to yourself and your career.

Get Comfortable Setting Boundaries

Establishing and maintaining boundaries is crucial for workplace assertiveness. You must delineate the limit of your comfort zones and workloads to avoid burnout and ensure coworkers and management respect your professional boundaries.

This involves saying no to unreasonable requests, allocating time for non-work activities, and effectively managing expectations. While setting boundaries might initially feel uncomfortable, it’s a way to practice being assertive in an area that will significantly enhance your experience both inside and outside of work.


These tips for women who want to be more assertive at work are tools to forge a path toward empowerment and professional respect. Being assertive does not require a complete overhaul of your personality. All it requires is an intentional approach to communication, a strong grasp of your value, and the ability to set limits that safeguard your well-being. By practicing these strategies, you can build a foundation for enduring success and fulfillment in your career.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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