Are you asked to do more than required to advance in your career? Or are you wondering whether childbearing impedes your employment? These and many more questions remain unanswered in our strife to curb the challenges women face in the employment sector. While it can be startling to discuss barriers affecting your career ambitions, as compared to men, the glass ceiling concept will give a clear understanding of a woman’s career development in the workplace.
Glass ceiling refers to the barriers hindering women from advancing in their careers. The barriers may include limited opportunities in promotions despite unmatched qualifications, biased employment roles, being regarded as incompetent and receiving less support than their male counterparts.
Effect of glass ceiling on your career ambitions
The glass ceiling contains unseen barriers that can keep you from advancing in your organization. The consequences experienced may keep you from rising to managerial/senior positions despite your qualifications. Its effects are not limited to a working environment since it can fan out in all areas of your life. Below are five glass ceiling factors and their effect on your career growth.
- Individual factors
These are personal reservations that can directly influence your ability to perform effectively as an individual in reference to your career ambitions. The individual factors that can deter your career advancement include education, self-esteem, hard work, communication skills, and leadership skills. Most of the outlined factors are considered personality traits and are key attributes considered in promotions or attaining any managerial positions.
- Family responsibilities
Balancing work and family responsibilities is a major hindrance to a woman’s career development. Both family and work are important, but as a woman who has more responsibilities in establishing a home, you can be forced to make huge sacrifices that may negatively affect your career ambitions. Employment duties when having family obligations is considered one of the key barriers in women’s careers.
- Organizational culture
Most organizations are not adequately framed to bestow a woman’s virtues. These frameworks may include assignments, mentorship, promotion, reward systems, unbalanced work and family policies, training and retention. There may be other organisational barriers, including sexual, racial and ethnic harassment, exemption from formal networks and a lack of role models. Such organizational practices can impede your entry and progress in a workplace since they inhibit career advancement.
- Societal norms and beliefs
These are stereotypes and prejudgments existing in a society that has hugely hindered women’s progress in employment. Some prescribe that you can only fulfill your professional ambitions as a woman after accomplishing culturally accepted principles. Despite the transformation in cultural practices due to intercultural relations, some beliefs and norms are still in place and are perceived as sacred. Exceptional performance and independence are achievements considered abnormal regarding culture
- Government acts and policies
The government, to some level, acts as the controlling body when it comes to employment acts. Kenya, for example, still has a challenge in implementing the two-thirds gender rule, with currently only 22% of women in the national parliament. Aside from parliamentary representation, the lack of vigorous and coherent follow-ups and law execution affects women’s career development. When there are no sufficient structures in place that you can use to assemble, report and disseminate employment-related information, the glass ceiling challenges will stay, making it difficult to progress in a workplace.
How to trim glass ceiling
Despite the challenges affecting women’s growth in employment, there are practices that can help boost your morale in achieving your ambitions. Some of these include:
- Build a network
Enlarging your network can help you nurture personal development. Utilize networking functions to link up with professionals who can mentor you to attain your dream.
- Cultivate confidence
Surmounting prejudices and misconceptions can be surmounted through confidence. The more confident you are, the more positive you become in scaling above demoralizing situations.
- Learn from failures
Everyone is prone to failure. How you respond to failure is very significant to your career development—embracing mistakes and using them as learning points in developing your skills.
- Freezeout assumptions
Directly address an act that is perceived to promote gender bias. Open debates on such will minimize the gate ceiling in your workplace.
- Solicit perspectives
There are diverse personalities with different resources to help you grow in a working setup. Seek advice from trusted associates concerning your input and use the feedback to expand your knowledge and growth.
- Aim high
There is no limit or a standard template for success. Express your ambition and continually aim higher to prove that you can handle any task assigned.
Understanding how the glass ceiling operates helps you know what barriers/challenges are, why they exist and what you can do to improve your effectiveness in a workplace. Sharing the knowledge with your colleagues can help create more enlightenment to eliminate the glass ceiling.