Jan 19, 2012

Smash that Glass Ceiling

It's no secret that women struggle to reach that top position - whether in government, in huge corporations, in NGOs etc.

SO, how are we going to break that glass ceiling? We have a few options:
*don't have children, dedicate our lives to our jobs
*manipulate, bitch and sleep our way to the top
*enforce quotas
*start a new company and be our own boss
*be braver and demand what's rightfully ours - a chance to get to the top without giving up the rest of lives

The first two are simply depressing and undermine our power and strength as women - we shouldn't have to give up having children (unless we want to) nor should we use our sexuality to get our own way. Simple reason - men don't have to so why should we?

The third is a contentious issue because if you enforce quotas you're in effect 'positively discriminating' which isn't always a good thing. However, it has proven very successful in a number of countries - Rwanda, Iceland, South Africa, Norway. Rwanda actually has 56.3% of women in parliament - so much for being a 'developing' country - there's a lot we could learn from it in terms of gender representation in government.

The fourth is attractive to entrepreneurs, women with innovative ideas, something new, something different but it's risky and financially unstable so it's not as easy it sounds.

The fifth is achievable but women need more support in the workplace, particularly from their male colleagues. This is argued by Boardwalk - 'ambition does not hold women back from Board positions but confidence and perceived lack of support is a problem. Women have skills that are valuable to Boards but because they are not packaged in a readily accessible manner this creates barriers to appointments. On the other side perhaps boards lack the creativity to recognise how to tap into the diverse skills held by women.'

Some of the recommendations made by Boardwalk:

  • We need to encourage inter disciplinary mentoring schemes involving highly visible women supporting women in other sectors.
  • Invest in Board diversity initiatives with a focus on board ready training and behavioural change  for Boardroom culture.
  • More awareness and knowledge share on across sectors of how successful companies utilise performance assessment tools to assess the!impact of Board diversity.

For all those who have reached this invisible glass ceiling, help others to do the same. For those who are striving to reach it, Punch Hard!


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