Why women can smash through that glass ceiling
The glass ceiling is an outdated metaphor that was used in the 1980s to describe the unseen barrier that stopped women and ethnic minorities from moving up the career ladder. Back then people often stayed in the same company for the rest of their careers. Even though we had a female Prime Minister, in Mrs Thatcher, women were missing from top jobs (including her cabinet).
Thankfully today, working environments have changed, especially since many organisations have started challenging gender diversity. Public sector organisations have equality and diversity agendas to ensure fairness for all. There was a recent study by CEB (Corporate Executive Board) on women in leadership. The research found:
- 51% of women make up non-management staff.
- 41% of women are in junior or middle management.
- 32% are heads of department.
- 21% are in top executive roles.
Isn't it interesting how the numbers get lower when the positions get higher? Well it doesn't have to be that way because women can smash through that glass ceiling. Here's how:
Prepare yourself for that rise to the top
If you can see yourself as a future leader, find out what you need to do to get there. Take a course in first line management or similar. You could employ a coach to help you to look at what qualities you have to be in management. You may have to pay for it yourself, but you could ask your employers for support. Preparing yourself may even require you to look at job specs of management roles. You could even talk to people you know who are in management positions to find out how they got there.
Be bold and speak up
When you know what your target is, be proactive and go for it because it isn't going to come to you. Let your manager know that you want to progress to a higher position and ask what skills you need to develop. You could ask for more responsibility as a way to develop required competencies.
Become more vocal or outgoing because those are the people who tend to rise up the corporate ladder. Communicate your ideas because companies like that, especially if they value innovation.
Know your worth
Knowing your worth is very important because your progression ultimately starts with you and how you think of yourself. What skills and attributes do you have already? Consider if you have outgrown your current job. Think about what current skills you can use in the role above the one you do now.
You could leave your company
You don't have to stay in the same company for the rest of your career. If you, like many women, work in a place or role where there is no chance of progression, you could always progress your career with another company. If you felt really ambitious, you could always start your own busines. The number of women in self-employment is in fact increasing at a faster rate than men.
So in a nutshell, there doesn't have to be a glass ceiling. You can take charge of your career by smashing through it. If you want help to do just that get in touch with a qualified life coach.
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