In light of it being #Internationalwomensday we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about the term 'Breaking the Glass Ceiling'. Historically, this phrase was used to describe, mainly women, but also people from minorities, who were incapable of being able to be in positions of power and gain promotions no matter how hard they worked, qualified they were, or capable of that position, there was always something holding them back from 'breaking the glass'.
Now that being said, the term started in 1980, when this was much more of a problem, We have seen a huge change in this mindset and there are a lot more women and people within minorities who are in successful positions of power. Which is great! But unfortunately that glass ceiling does still exist for some and it isn't always limited to gender or nationality.
Breaking the glass ceiling is effectively achieving something that society deems as being unachievable for you. Here are some points that should help to get that glass ceiling smashed, whether you are standing underneath it or above it looking down.
Promotions should be based on talent and potential:
This really should go without saying surely? But unfortunately not always. Promotions are about recognising an employees proactive pursuit of wanting more through their talent and their work ethic or as a reward after noticing the two. These two elements aren't always the only things that come into the decision, and understandably if you are a really shy and unapproachable person but you have talent and are hardworking, it is going to make it hard for you to become the team leader. However in theory if you want the promotion, you will work on all aspects of being the best person for the job, whatever the responsibilities entail.
Make events in the workplace gender neutral:
One of the biggest things you can do to enhance success is networking. However it is important that the networking events and team building activities are gender neutral so's not to put anybody off, effectively ruining their chances to succeed. So try and avoid activities such as paint-balling or go-karting. As fun as these might be there is definite gender stereotypes associated with them which will inevitably put people off. .
Make sure there is zero tolerance on harassment and discrimination:
No matter what, ensure there is a zero tolerance on harassment and discrimination throughout the company. Make sure everybody feels comfortable within their workplace. This will encourage everybody to feel valued.
Consider the personal life of employees:
Another big problem associated with women in the workplace is the 'flexi-time' schemes that are put in place to help people balance their family lives and work. However there will be inevitable resentment towards those who are always leaving early and coming in late, especially as workloads are picked up by others. The best way to tackle this is; through all round flexible schemes that are fitted to all, not just parents. Ensure everybody has the right to leave early if they have a personal commitment.
However, on the flip side, it also important that expectations aren't too high, if you are only doing a small amount of hours due to family/home life commitments, it is then going to be hard to put your case forward for that promotion when you are competing against the person picking up your work load - so always be mindful of this.
Being a woman in the work place in 2017 should not be any different to being a man. However with recent news articles on women getting fired for not wearing heels, it is hardly there yet. It is important that both men and women work together to create a perfect harmony and smash that glass, as that isn't just stopping women, but it is stopping everybody who doesn't feel they are being supported.