There is no doubt that women have progressed considerably in our global workforce especially over the last few decades.

Since mid-20th Century, we have seen a number of women elected or appointed as Head of State or Government.  Marma Esteta Isabel Martines was the world’s first female President.  She was the President of Argentina from 1974 – 1976. Margaret Thatcher became the first British Prime Minister in 1979.  It took another 26 years for Britain to get a second female Prime Minister – Theresa May.  We have had Soong Chin-ling as the Acting Co-chairperson in China, Goldo Meir, Prime Minister in Israel, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Prime Minister in Ceylon/Sri Lanka and the list goes on to register 63 powerful women leaders.

These women were intelligent, organized, dedicated and experienced. Unfortunately, some had limited to no international recognition.  It is worse in the business world. Despite mountain of reports showing that women continue to break through the “GLASS CEILING PHENOMENON,” the corporate world is yet to embrace women in the C-suite tables.

The Glass Ceiling is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic (typically applied to minorities) from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy.  The metaphor was first coined by feminists in reference to barriers in the careers of high-achieving women.

Research has shown that men excel faster even in female dominated fields (eg. nursing and teaching) than the women themselves do.

It is not surprising that women are under represented at the top levels of the corporate pipeline.  This disparity between how men and women progress on the corporate ladder is most significant in financial and technology sectors.  Women make up about 55% of manager-level employees but only about 15% of C Suite officers and about 5% of CEOs.  When it comes to women of colour, representation in these top jobs is even less.

Some of factors that lead to the Glass Ceiling effect for women are:

  • Lack of role models/mentors
  • Exclusion from social networks
  • Stereotypes
  • Prejudice
  • Tokenism
  • Raising children – taking time off
  • Lack of interest in becoming top executives

We need to change how women are hired, treated and promoted in workplace.  We can start by:

  • Making sure our workforce is aware of gender bias.
  • HR processes and practices are reformed to correct bias.
  • Set targets, track metrics and accountability for gender parity.
  • Train our managers to watch for bias and encourage them to mentor and nurture women in their team.
  • Create a female mentoring program.

Girls, keep in mind that glass can be shattered if one strikes it hard enough and long enough.  Let us BREAK IT together.  Join our C-Suite Membership Club where great minds congregate.