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Glass Ceiling - Myth or Reality

by Anuja Yadav on 18th July, 2013 at 10:00 AM CEST

Sometimes the greatest barriers we face are the ones we create for ourselves.

This might sound amazing but how many of us actually believe we are capable of scaling big heights. How many of us stop and actually ask ourselves: Am I capable of going the distance even if I am the only one who believes? But this is not the glass ceiling of the corporate world. This is the glass ceiling of our minds.

The next barrier we face is the belief that an ambitious young individual cannot balance work and family life.  Of particular importance is the issue of gender. Women have long been seen in the traditional role of the homemaker who takes care of the children. But with the growing need for roles to converge, we see more and more dads taking up housework and child care. Single men and women need to take care of their work life balance as well. Many corporate houses are recognizing this trend and providing initiatives to cope with work-life balance. However, female employees who maintain high work-family conflict are considered not appropriate for promotions.

The third barrier is the society. When women moved out of their traditional roles, a second wave of feminism in the form of super womanhood (a term coined by Betty Friedan) took shape. There’s a common belief that women excel in gender specific roles. The leadership styles to management decisions of women are seen as distinct from those of men. According to UNDP report of 2012, India ranks 129 out of 146 on the Gender Inequality Index which reflects women’s disadvantage in reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market.

On a world scale, Forbes recently came up with the list of 100 most powerful women in the world:

From India, there are some illustrious names who made it to this list notably Ms. Sonia Gandhi at #9, Ms. Indra Nooyi at #10, Ms. Chanda Kochhar at #65 and  Ms. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at #85.

Comparing this list to the world’s most powerful people's list 2013 in Forbes, we see some stark differences:

Ms. Angela Merkel from Germany stands at #2, Ms. Sonia Gandhi stands at #12 and Ms. Dilma Rousseff from Brazil is at #18 in the top 20 list. Only 3 out of 20 most powerful people this year are women.

From a corporate perspective, women still face gender pay gap. We still encounter gender stereotypes. There’s a common belief that men worldwide desire top jobs more often than women. Even if the glass ceiling does exist, it does not impact job satisfaction. According to popular belief, women do not negotiate or hard bargain as well as men.

In the end, glass ceilings exist in myth and reality. Sometimes the ceiling is a figment of our imagination whereas at other times the ceiling is a hard reality.

How can we remove this huge power gap of 3:20? How can we shatter the glass ceiling?

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Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

amaaaaazing!!!!!!!!! article

18th July, 2013 @ 1:14 PM CEST

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