First appeared on Technorati:http://technorati.com/women/article/is-glass-ceiling-for-women-a2/
In the first part of this article, we discussed the Glass Ceiling as being an invisible barrier against promoting women to senior executive roles; I feel it is better described as a maze since it more accurately conveys the complexity and randomness that typically occurs better than the glass-ceiling metaphor.
Maze and games shouldn’t be there to start with, but women usually are met with stereotyping, and resistance to be promoted.
Some believe that if you fill the companies’ pipelines with exceptional women leaders talents, eventually they’ll make it into the executive suite kind of “build it they will come” or “just give it time” philosophies have been widely accepted for decades. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
According to the 2010 study “The Impact of Gender on Voluntary and Involuntary Executive Departure”; showed that female executives voluntarily leave their corporate positions twice as often as counter males .
There are many challenges that continue to face women who strive to get to the top, but how long are we going to dwell over spilled milk? The fact that there are women in senior leadership positions, some in industries that are stereotypically male dominated indicates that the barriers can be broken. So what are the real reasons behind anyone including women not reaching a certain level of hierarchy, or promotion; so is it competence, supply, Comfort zones, complacency, fear of success or none of these factors?
If we can define the causes of an illness and control its symptoms, we can then find a cure, so if we can define the reasons of the Glass Ceiling and decrease its effects then we can find a solution and a remedy to the problem.
First let us address the most common obstacles: Please note that these are the generally dominant obstacles, they do not necessarily apply in all cases:
- Gender stereotypes where women are seen as mothers and spouses with family responsibilities that will prevent them from moving upward
- Perceptions of women inability to network especially after work hours, or mix with the boys for drinks
- Outdated succession planning or lack of them; and career development systems
- Frequent traveling, or relocation because of a job
- Lack of sponsorships of females into leadership positions
- Lack of mentors and role models for women
- “All Boys” culture organizations’ cultures
- Women fear of speaking up
- Women fear of success
The leadership styles of men and women are different from each other, women are not men in dresses; and shouldn’t be expected to act or lead the same way to fit in. Plus women at the top are damned if they do and damned if they don’t; If they are aggressive and lead with an iron fist they are seen as a threat, if they try the inclusive and participative style of leadership they are seen as too soft.
In the next and final post we will discuss the effect of the obstacles and some suggested solutions.
Diversity starts at home.
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC.