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Glass ceiling prevents women from achieving

By Christine Doan, Guest Columnist
On June 18, 2014

The glass ceiling is a common enemy of women in the workplace, forcing an insurmountable brick wall on their career advancement and professional development and diverting them to non-leadership careers. This is unacceptable.

Entrepreneurial ghostwriter Bruce Kasanoff discusses the glass ceiling in his article, “Why Women ‘Drift Away’ from Their Careers.” He points out a negative feedback loop of women leaving the field before reaching management positions, which creates dearth of female mentors for working women on the rise and perpetuates the cycle that keeps women out of the workforce.

Sociality is an undeniable aspect of work; without the proper social environment, it’s difficult for anyone to put forth his or her best efforts. No one is going to contribute much if he or she doesn’t feel welcome or appreciated. The lack of female mentorship is damaging, in my opinion, because every woman is going to feel like she’s trying to get ahead on her own with little to no solid networking ground on which to build.

Many women have admitted to viewing networking as cheating, because work should be about what you can do rather than who you know. When women try to enter “the boy’s club” in work environments, they are met with disinterest or ignored.

Male co-workers are known to hang out after work and introduce one another to everyone they know. In response, a female commenter who asked Kasanoff to keep her anonymous wrote, “I shouldn’t have to invest so much of my energy at work to try to feel like I’m part of the team.”

Listen: I’m not here to fulfill a quota or be someone’s arm candy. I’m here to discuss my ideas and be productive, and I put in just as much time and effort toward the endeavor as the next person, man or woman.

Sometimes, discrimination stems from the discomfort that women incur when they try to lead like men — who are popularly depicted as more assertive, more critical and more competitive — instead of utilizing their skills to resolve conflict, encourage teamwork and foster discussion.

According to a study by Catalyst, a prominent business research organization, the stereotype that “women take care and men take charge” is perpetuated when we pigeonhole compassion as a genteel trait of the emotional homemaker and action as a driving force of the fast-paced work environment.

The author of the original comment stated, “I’m of the opinion that if men were under less pressure to be The Big Provider, with the macho I-Work-Long-Hours-I’m-So-Important culture that ensues, there would be fewer women with top degrees and amazing professional qualities at home, mopping up oatmeal.” Granted, that oatmeal isn’t going to clean itself up, but ideally both husband and wife are capable of that job, just as they should be equally capable of providing for their families and leading their companies.

Women, don’t give up on your aspirations to ascend the career ladder. Men have their strengths and we have ours, so we need to capitalize on what we can do to nurture strong networking relationships and promote democracy in the workplace.

Current statistics and social constructs may be constraining for working females, but in the future, I hope to see both sexes exhibiting their skills — whatever they might be — without prejudice, at home and at work.

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