Why is it hard for women to get ahead in the workplace?

Hillary Clinton

One recent event has motivated me to write about women in the workplace: my exam on business ethics at London School of Economics. One of the questions was to develop the idea of “glass ceiling” and concerns related to the topic. Man, did I suffer! Examiner, if you are reading this post, please, don’t consider the answer I wrote on the exam. This one is much better!

Let’s start by defining what glass ceiling means. It is a term used to describe the not usually visible – glass -, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps women from rising to the upper ranks and rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their achievements or qualifications. Listen to Hillary Clinton’s experiences on these unseen limits.

Well, we are proud of saying we have finally reached equality but some recent sexist witterings by Wimbledon’s commentators prove us wrong. Unfortunately, they are not the only signs that show us we haven’t reached that state. A very good example is the gender pay gap that still exists between men and women in the workplace.

Obviously we differ in many ways partially due to biology and socialization reasons… So what? These differences should never affect the way we are treated by others nor in life neither at work. Everyone deserves to be treated equally no matter sex, race or even clothing. Good managers adapt their speech and behavior according to others’ personalities, never to voice tone or hair length. Are you then a good manager?

glass-ceilingAnyway, keep focused: glass ceiling. How to break it? In my opinion, there are 3 main actions to be taken on this matter:

  1. Promote based on potential. Don’t be prejudiced. Just because someone has kids doesn’t mean they don’t want to or aren’t capable of taking greater responsibilities. Ask and you’ll be surprised. 
  2. Flex-time for all. Let everyone having flexible timetables, not only recent mothers with children. Do not use a policy based on differences.
  3. And this is for women. Stop thinking you have to do more than your male colleagues to get ahead. Learn to say no. 

Unfortunately, glass ceiling will be tough to break. If you want my advice,  go to your local hardware store and buy a good hammer. You’ll probably need it.

Antonio González
If you want to read more about professional women, you can follow this channel on LinkedIn.

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