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How women can shatter the Glass Ceiling

As we celebrate "Women's History Month", we need to remember that 2020 has been a tough year plagued by uncertainty, crisis and an unrelenting virus that drove us all to stay home and shelter. The living rooms turned to classrooms and offices for both parents in most cases. The lines between work and family lives are more blurred than ever, work seems to be 24/7. Many suffered losses no matter how small and worrying about their income, work, and health.

Women have been pulling double shifts, wearing two hats at all times, either as a mother, wife, teacher to the kids, employee or business owner. Women have been laid off at a higher rate than men. COVID highlighted the obstacles standing in the way of women advancement and equality even more.

But, out of every mess there is a message and out of every breakdown there is a breakthrough, some workplaces are reassessing their Diversity and Inclusion practices including women issues.

So, I am not going to start with numbers and statistics to show how women are lacking in numbers in the C-Suite, as executives, and as Board members etc. this is known fact that has been discussed over and over.

The gender gap in leadership represents a significant missed opportunity for business. It is not about Affirmative action, and it is not a politically correct thing

Glass Ceiling” has been discussed many times as being an anomaly in our society, an invisible obstacle most of the time without any resolution or even hope for solutions. The term “Glass Ceiling” dubbed by the Wall Street Journal depicting limitations faced by women and minorities to advance into senior positions in corporate organizations (we are only discussing factors affecting women in this post)

I personally look at the issue in a totally different way, there might be a “Glass Ceiling” for women, as it does exist for minorities, this “Glass Ceiling” didn’t stop a lot of women to achieve success. I, personally do not believe in “Glass Ceiling”. I feel it is a self-imposed obstacle that we put in our own way to have an excuse why we do not or cannot reach our full potential. I build my own building and have my own roof with no ceiling.

I am not discounting the barriers that exist in the way of women’s careers, I am not denying that they have not been discriminating against; what I am saying is the “personification” of the Glass Ceiling is giving it a bigger size obstacle that it can ever be

There is no shortage of educated women, women are at more than 57% of the students on college campuses (2009) and comprise around 60% of master’s degree recipients as well as doctoral degrees awarded to more women than man, The workforce is estimated to be a fifty- fifty now, obviously not reflected in the number of women in the C-suite, executives, and Board members

Women, a highly skilled source of leadership talent, are being overlooked to the detriment of business. In the era of global competition for talent, the best Talent Male or Female) should be sought to give a competitive advantage over those that only rely on only men to fill top positions. Many organizations have fallen short of their goals.

.So let us look at the origin of the so called “Glass Ceiling” for women

It is time that we tackle this issue and stop making excuses of not being in Executive positions because of the “Glass Ceiling”; 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.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by exceptional women that each one of them has broken not only the Glass Ceiling but the sound barrier and achieved greatness on their own. As a group of women we believe that we can achieve any goal we set our mind to, by working hard, commitment, dedication, finding resources, sacrifices, and helping each other. We do not need to become “one of the boys” to be a good leader, we are not “Good female leaders” we are simply “Good leaders”

It is important to understand that solutions for women issues are not only depending on women alone doing something about it. Women issues are societal issues

Here are some barriers that generally face women leadership (probably not an inclusive list and might not apply in every case)

  • Bias: Unconscious Bias& 2nd generation Unconscious Bias embedded subtly in the guidelines, principles and operational processes of the organizations against women, we have seen this even in the political elections where commentators turned to value the female candidates on how they looked, their age, their hair, their clothes, to even the shade of their lipsticks, where they never commented on the color of the tie or what clothing style a man candidate wears.

  • Organizational Structure: Women are excluded from consideration in most activities that will lead to advancement as succession leadership planning, internship or mentorship programs, training and development programs as well as apprenticeship programs.

  • Gender Stereotypes: Where women are mostly dismissed as a leader because she has a family. She is seen as a liability if she cares for children or older parents. They perceive that women with families are unable to concentrate, spend longer hours or even be able to travel so they discount her even before considering her for the position, versus considering a