Shattering the Glass Ceiling at the Workplace


women running in a race

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Within the last few years, an opinion has been propagated that the barriers that inhibit corporate progression for women have been removed. This is partially true, for instance, the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 list has increased five times post-2010.

However, this can only be considered as an improvement if we evaluate the situation through a relative yardstick. Otherwise, things are still not that encouraging. From an objective viewpoint, one can easily recognize that the claims of the glass ceiling being shattered are erroneous. And why we are saying that? According to the latest Fortune 500 list, only 24 of the enlisted companies have women at their helms. More alarmingly, the number is smaller than the year before when the list had 36 women as CEOs.

Many other statistics also substantiate that this glass ceiling is playing a significant part in creating gender disproportion. According to an NGO working to improve the work environment for women, the female MBAs across the world are annually making $4,000 less than their male counterparts.

Carving out their Own Path

Disappointed with the subtle and blatant gender bias in the corporate landscape, many women have shifted their energies to create opportunities for themselves. According to a report compiled by Women’s Business Research, the number of female-owned ventures has increased by 42 percent between 1997 and 2006.

There is a Silver Lining

Amid the despondency and disenchantment regarding the pervasive gender gap, there are some pointers to be optimistic about the future. For instance, some countries have taken proactive measures to shatter the glass ceiling. France, Spain, Iceland, and Norway have taken legislative measures to address the gender gap at the workplace. France has implemented a rule that every boardroom must consist of 40 percent female members.

For all the decision-makers and proprietors driven by their conscience and honestly who wants to get rid of the bias and disproportion experienced by women at the workplace, we are going to discuss some measures that would eventually shatter the glass ceiling. Women have endured much of the declared and obscured discrimination all through history. However, it’s never too late to create a gender-neutral environment to ensure equal opportunities for everyone.

Getting Rid of Bias from Evaluation Process

The evaluation process being practiced in any organization often sets up the foundation of the glass ceiling. If decision-makers are factoring in the gender of their employees, then it will eventually and inadvertently create hurdles for women.

If you are a business owner, you can eliminate the gender bias from your evaluation process, make your professional feedbacks more systematic and be free of personal inclinations. Most people apparently work to create equality in the workplace, but their unconscious bias stops them from doing that. To deal with this, put up an impartial system of checks and balances based on stats and figures. Numbers don’t lie and they can provide a timely reminder to bosses for any of their unconscious bias.

Any impartial and dispassionate evaluation must also be followed by some solid on the ground measures. For example, categorically instruct senior supervisors and managers to focus on the development of high-performing female staff.

Create a Work Environment Free of Fear

Many high-performing and ambitious female employees don’t want to talk about their successes because of many indiscernible fears. For instance, they are labeled as braggers even if they mention anything about their advancements in water cooler conversations. On the other hand, male employees are may trumpet their achievements all day long.

An unhealthy tradition of calling ambitious and successful women ‘aggressive’ and ‘being too hard on themselves’ is also prevalent in workspaces. This everyday organizational mannerism is actually not regressive in a blatant manner. However, it still inculcates a fear among many female workers to remain low-profile even if they want to strive for more.

So, it is important to create an environment where women can fearlessly navigate the corporate landscape without the apprehension of getting judged, called out or sidelined. Women deserve equal footing to impart their interests and aspirations to senior management.

Non-Work Activities and Gender Neutrality

Social activities organized by corporate entities provide a good way of networking to employees. Any expert of the field can give a plethora of reasons how professional and social networking helps employees in moving up the corporate ladder.

One way to ensure this is to consciously plan gender-neutral non-work activities. Female employees will feel left out if the organization only arranges male-oriented excursions. For instance, it is certainly not a good idea to plan a billiard evening or a paintball adventure if women make up a considerable size of the organizational workforce.

Zero-Tolerance Policy against Harassment

Notwithstanding, the recent Me Too Movement, it has always been an important measure for any corporate entity to take note of. More importantly, your workplace policy against harassment must not just prove to be lip service. The Me Too Movement has exposed how people have abused their authority amid the implementation of pertinent harassment policies. Make sure you have a zero-tolerance policy against harassment if you don’t want your female employees to work in a subversive environment. Working in such conditions doesn’t just only have a detriment effect on their morale, but it also negatively impacts the overall productivity of the venture. In New York State, a law has been passed that makes it mandatory for all businesses to have strict guidelines regarding the prevention of sexual harassment.

If a person is found guilty of an harassment allegation, make sure that you handle the situation with much-needed diligence and diplomacy.

The collective effect of implementing all the above-discussed measures eventually culminates into shattering the glass ceiling in any corporate entity.


Posted On October 27, 2018