Maintaining the glass ceiling

2008

The Daily Telegraph (UK) recently published an article entitled "Women to blame for failure to succeed in the workplace" that nearly caused me to spit my drink all over the keyboard.

Quite provocative, isn't it? However, a closer read of the article brings out some very valid points. Statistically, Anglo-Saxon women (British, American) and Chinese women were the most reticent to discuss workplace accomplishments and to market themselves. Personally, I found many women in the US quite good at that.

As the author Shannon Goodson, who recently wrote a book on the subject, points out in the article, women aren't "responsible for creating the glass ceiling, but they help maintain it."

This is a spot on sentence. Ambitious people who do succeed, regardless of sex, do so because they give themselves the tools (often exaggerated) to succeed.

Perhaps men are more willing to throw themselves out there and make a name, but it's what works in getting ahead in the workplace. Timidity has never served any one, and you certainly don't see too many successful executives without the gift of the gab.

If women seek to aspire to more success in the office place, they must be assertive and take what is rightfully theirs. Many women have learned this important lesson and have reaped the benefits of shattering glass ceilings instead of holding them up.

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That's all very well, but what we're still essentially saying is that in order to succeed in the workplace women have to go out there and behave just the way men do. Its still a man's world, dictated by men's rules. And we're still chasing men's success.

Women don't sell themselves because they grow up surrounded by influences telling them that is not the way women behave. Society expects them to be different. Society tells them they're not women if they do.

True equality would be the ability to succeed while continuing to behave like women, not having to metaphorically strap up our breasts and behave like a man in order to fulfil our professional potential.

Victoria