Women walking into a workplace today experience a very different environment than their mothers and grandmothers did. The past century has seen enormous progress, but there’s still a lot of room to grow. Even today, many women find that their professional growth is limited by the “glass ceiling.” Luckily, like anything else made of glass, glass ceilings can be shattered.
If you’re ready to growth hack your career and break through the barriers that are holding you back, it helps to do a couple of things. Here are our top 4 ways savvy women can help themselves break through the glass ceiling:
- Understand what the glass ceiling is
- Embrace nontraditional careers and job opportunities
- Turn frustration into action and empowerment
- Seek out opportunities to empower other women
Women today still face a variety of challenges in the workplace, but none of them are insurmountable.
First, What is the Glass Ceiling?
A glass ceiling is defined any barrier preventing an individual from reaching the next level of advancement. In these situations, qualified and deserving individuals can see the next stage of advancement, but they are prevented from reaching it by institutional prejudices against their gender, ethnicity, age, or other factors that do not affect their work. Although holding individuals back in this way is illegal, it is still prevalent.
In this article, we are specifically discussing the gender-based glass ceiling that women frequently encounter in the workplace.
Embrace Nontraditional Job Opportunities
Corporate culture and social norms both present huge challenges to women seeking to correct stubborn workplace imbalances. For that reason, one powerful way women can ensure they are fairly compensated for their work is exploring nontraditional and entrepreneurial job opportunities.
These opportunities tend to be more flexible, giving women who desire a greater work-life balance or whose responsibilities include child or home care more control over their professional lives. We can see this shift toward flexible, employee-driven work environments in trends like the rise of co-working spaces and in technological innovations that support women who want or need to work outside of a traditional 9-to-5 office setting.
Time clock software is a great example of this type of innovation. In recent years, it’s gotten a huge facelift, leaving it very different from the software many of us used to punch in and out of our first high school jobs. Now with time tracking features like facial recognition and smartphone compatibility, employers can use time clock software to schedule projects and organize teams anywhere, anytime.
Women don’t have to behave like men to be successful, nor do they have to break other women down to build themselves up. When women work together, glass ceilings shatter.
Don’t Just Get Angry — Take Action!
If you are in a position where you’re encountering a glass ceiling — and you aren’t in a position to seek other employment opportunities — you might be feeling frustrated, and with good reason. Keep in mind that the most effective way to address workplace inequality is not to simply get angry, it is to use that anger to fuel real change:
- Take notes. If you notice problems, particularly recurring problems, be sure to take note of what’s going on — recording the when, what, and who is essential.
- Be assertive. If the right people — whether that means your boss, HR, or others — aren’t listening, find another avenue to create change.
- Be patient. Your work may be frustrating, but it will not only create more opportunities for you and your coworkers — taking action will gradually create a better workplace environment for the women of generations to come as well.
Women Supporting Women is How We Will Move Forward
Unfortunately, social expectations try to pit women against each other in a variety of situations, and that includes in the workplace. There is a stereotypical model of successful women exhibiting hypermasculine traits to get to the top — including be ultra assertive or even aggressive and cutting down competitors to get what they want.
In reality, successful women have a variety of different approaches, demographics, cultural values, and behaviors that drive them. Not only does this provide a diverse model of success for young women to aspire to and be inspired by — it also creates space for talented, successful women with different skills to help build each other up and help one another grow. Using our power to empower and inspire other women is how we will move forward.
The Glass Ceiling is Yours to Break
Don’t take injustice sitting down — standing up and making your voice heard is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and for generations of women to come.
Glass ceilings are not unbreakable. In fact when you keep these 4 things in mind, they shatter. What are your strategies for growth hacking your career and for helping other women grow? We’d love to hear from you!