During the late 1980s, the Wall Street Journal popularized the term “glass ceiling” which explains the barriers met by women in the workplace, so that when they look up and attempt to reach the upper echelons of the organization, they are figuratively blocked by the glass ceiling. Factoring in the onset of the feminist movement in the 1970s, studies show that women still make up a small percentage of leadership positions in the workplace, whatever industry it might be. How can women break this barrier to reach the top? Here are a few tips that might help improve their chances.
- Learn to balance your personal and work life.
One of the arguments against women in management roles is that they prioritize family more than work—taking more time off from the workplace for their maternity leaves and spending time with the children. However, it has been shown time and time again that women are better multi-taskers than men. So you just have to show that you’re the superwoman that you are, that even though you have a family life, you can still work hard and produce results.
- Don’t be afraid to show and tell.
So you have great ideas and you are already working hard and producing results, but you’re still not getting noticed. Why? Because reports show that women are hesitant to speak up in the workplace setting, afraid that their ideas might be perceived as dumb or showing their success might be seen as bragging. This clamming up also contributes to women bringing home lesser salaries than their male counterparts. So don’t be afraid to speak up, show them what you got, and ask for a well-deserved promotion and raise. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Part of the arsenal of a successful executive is to always be in the loop of the latest developments in the field. Do not be complacent with what you know now as knowledge and skills always changes. Do you not have a master’s degree? Go out and get one. Having an MA or even a PhD not only looks good in your resume, but also improves your chances of promotion.
- Harness your feminine strength.
It is said that women are emphatic, sensitive and intuitive. Use these feminine strengths to your advantage. Reports have shown that sensitivity in leadership role is vital, especially in maximizing the potential of their employees. Empathy is also an essential characteristic in a leader, to show how they care for the needs of their employees and build long-lasting relationships in the workplace that can improve job satisfaction and performance.
In the end, if you work hard enough, show your worth, and keep on striking the glass ceiling, it will shatter. Other women are at the top already. You can too.