Women and Their Ability to Break Through the Glass Ceiling

Women and Their Ability to Break Through the Glass Ceiling

It is often said that there may be a corporate glass ceiling that could prevent women from rising to the top in the corporate world, no matter how competent they may be. There are arguments on both sides by men and women whether such a glass ceiling exists and the extent to which it restricts upward movement but it is important to understand how women can break through the barrier and reach positions of top management in the corporate world.

There are underlying social causes why some men may feel superior to women in running affairs of management and why some women may feel that they need to go an extra mile to keep up with the men. However, these could be matters of perception and it is often found that women who hold up their self esteem and confidence do not even feel the existence of such a glass ceiling.

Life coaches often say that if women believe in themselves, have passion, dogged determination and dedication and go forward listening to their inner voice without distraction from their retractors, there may be nothing to hold them back. There can no doubt be men and women who may put you down as they may have a stereotype image of women which comes out of automated and unconscious conditioning from early childhood. They would cite cases where women were unable to cope with demands of top positions and of those who gave up their careers for long periods of time when they had children and were unable to catch up later. But if you have confidence in your creative and strategic abilities and good business acumen, people will realise what you are worth and you will find a rightful place in your career in the organisation.

Just as would be required by men, women too need to acquire knowledge and skills superior to their colleagues to stay ahead of competition. Often young women may hesitate in leading older people who form part of their team due to conditioning of the men who may mistakenly believe that women do not have the ability to lead. Similar conditioning may also make the women themselves feel hesitant to play a leader’s role. If you have acquired knowledge and skills for your job and interpersonal relationships, you can surprise the middle aged doubters and earn their respect.

A recent study of 251 male and female managers, Women create ‘their own glass ceiling’, (as reported by Associated Press, Aug 10, 2009, retrieved on 27 Aug 2009 from ) by Scott Taylor, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management revealed that female managers tend to underrate their bosses’ opinions of their job performance as much as three times more than the male managers. “Women have imposed their own glass ceiling, and the question is why,” says Scott Taylor.

The men overestimated how their bosses would rate them, while the female managers underestimated their ratings by almost 11 percent. The findings could possibly indicate why many women don’t rise to top positions and why there is a wage disparity between men and women. (In 2008, the Census Bureau estimated women get only about 78 percent of the salary men get for similar jobs). They tend to focus on shortcomings rather than their accomplishments.

This shows that if women approach their work with confidence and high self esteem and do not underestimate themselves, they can break down prejudices and rise to top positions in their career in the corporate world.