The Secret to Dealing With Office Politics

We're all familiar with the 21-cent wage gap statistic, as well as what we're doing to close it. But workplace inequality goes far beyond the pay gap; it's often imbedded in office politics and workplace culture. Rosina Racioppi, president and CEO of Women Unlimited Inc., is one of the many women devoted to challenging traditionally homogenous workplaces and nurturing female leaders in the process.

Racioppi believes that one of the main reasons that cause women to drop out of the workforce is experiencing frustration from working in an environment that is one-sided.

"Women have a different experience in the organization than their male counterparts, mostly because the organizations' dynamics were designed by the people who founded them—basically white men," said Racioppi in an interview with Fortune. "The way in which women fundamentally like to work is very different than our male counterparts. Research tells us that men tend to like that hierarchical structure. Women tend to like a much more community-minded structure.”

She goes on to say that when dealing with company rules and policies, women are barred from understanding the behind-the-scene ways in which things get done in the organization, thereby creating an unintentional barrier.

Instead of getting frustrated by the opaque ways in which your company may run, focus on communicating your wants and strengths to your manager.

"It's important to ask, 'What are the things I'm really good at?' And of that, 'What is the subset that I not only really love, but that brings value to the business that I'm a part of?'" said Racioppi, who believes taking control of your career path begins by finding the joy in what you do.

Above all, Racioppi recommends remaining highly engaged at work and always thinking of the bigger picture. Focus on networking opportunities, mentorships and fostering good managerial relationships gives working women the tools they need to climb the corporate ladder.

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