Do women really need to break the glass ceiling? Looking at the accomplishments of stalwarts like Mary Barra, Virginia Rometty, Indra Nooyi, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Theresa May, and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, it is evident that women are not just capable of ruling the top echelons of the business world. But, they are perfectly capable of running whole nations.
And, research has proved this for a fact. According to the results of a study published in the Harvard Business Review, the most successful venture capital investments are the ones that have at least one woman founder. In fact, such startups of the Silicon Valley performed up to 65% better than organizations with all men on their boards. Go figure.
And, there’s more! At least 50% of students entering college in the West are women. Once they leave college, they’re going to be standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. They’ll have similar qualifications, and they’ll be looking for the same career advancement opportunities and high salaries. Women will have fabulous, highly innovative ideas, and they’ll be ready to break the glass ceiling.
Are Women Likely to Have These Opportunities? In Today’s World? Maybe Not!
As Sarah Thebaud at the Princeton University found, women today still face bias because of their gender. They need to work a lot harder than their male peers, display higher performance levels, and come up with outstanding entrepreneurial concepts to be taken seriously. Raising funding for their ideas is a lot more difficult. It’s a fact that men with less innovative ideas find it much easier to get investments.
And, that’s not all. Women continue to be judged according to their appearance. A beautiful woman needs to play down her looks while an everyday woman might need to work on her looks to gain enough attention. Every woman executive needs to maintain a strong, reliable persona that is trustworthy, smart, dependable, and who knows her stuff. At the same time, she cannot seem too enthusiastic, or her male peers might feel threatened by her strength and resourcefulness. And, they’ll make it more difficult for her to break the glass ceiling.
Steven Applebaum from Concordia University reveals that the results of his research showed that only around 3% of the top executives of Fortune 500 companies are women. He says, “Women are still perceived as inferior leaders. This ill-conceived notion needs to change—and fast. At the current rate, we won’t see gender equality in the boardroom until 2081.”
So, How Can Women Break the Glass Ceiling?
Women need to maintain their composure and keep their heads down working with the team until the time comes when the team can no longer function without their exceptional ideas. That’s when the men have no choice but to invite them to step in and take charge.
Here are some other practical tips you might find useful when you’re looking to break the glass ceiling.
- Look for a company that welcomes innovation and is progressive in its work ethos. Functioning in such a work environment is essential for your personal growth as well. You’ll feel inspired and excel because your accomplishments will be recognized and lauded.
- Study the history of the company where you work. What are the key talents and skills that attract the most attention? Who were the people who got promotions? What did they achieve for the company to qualify? You’ll get a fair view of the areas where you need to perform better.
- Set goals for yourself and work out how you’re going to attain them. Take performance reviews seriously. Ask questions about what you need to do to develop your skills and capabilities. Look for a mentor within your company who can train and guide you on your performance in the organization.
- Consider getting continuing education credits to further your skills. Each new qualification will serve as another tool to help you break the glass ceiling.
- Build an extensive network of contacts, within and outside of your company. You’ll also need all the help you can from your peers. Make friends and make a conscious effort to keep in touch with them. You never know when you may need help with a project or to advance the interests of your company. That’s a sure shot strategy to get noticed and rise to the top.
- Build a stellar record. Take on all the challenging projects you can. Focus on the advancement of the company. Don’t hesitate to express your ideas and be assertive in the boardroom.
- No strategy works better than hard work and dedication. Keep adding accomplishments to your resume. You’ll learn and gain experience working at bigger and more advanced projects. Soon you’ll have an impressive list of completed projects that can help you break the glass ceiling.
- Take care of your health. In your race to get ahead in your career, don’t ignore your body. As long as you feel well, you can continue to achieve everything you want to. As you cross the age of 35, if you feel like your body is starting to slow down, get yourself tested and treat hormone imbalances. This is one issue that can get in the way of your performance levels by causing all kinds of health problems including fatigue, lack of concentration, poor memory, mental confusion, and others.
Can women break the glass ceiling? Absolutely! All it takes is resilience and hard work. And, the right moves. Soon you’ll be able to prove that you’re more than capable of running the company and making a roaring success of it.