Barriers for women’s achievement and career advancement are pervasive and pernicious. The belief that the ‘glass ceiling’ has been shattered is itself a barrier. Societal prejudice and stereotypes create ongoing barriers. Career advancement for women is thwarted by a lack of women in the ‘C’ suite and thus a lack of role models who advance to mid-level leadership roles. Qualities associated with leadership mimic male attributes. A long-standing barrier for women exists in a lack of access/entrance to the ‘good ole boys’ network. Networking is crucial in career advancement, but the opportunity to network with peers is lacking for women. Women are often forced with difficult decisions regarding work-life balance when pursuing their career. Limited availability for after-work obligations, travel, or training is reflected in job evaluations.
Impostor Syndrome – not feeling ‘good enough’ – affects how women react to workplace discrimination; how they choose their careers; and how they leave a career (quietly, leaving unresolved issues behind). It starts early for women and can determine what classes they take in high school and college. Reduced confidence can become a self-fulfilling effect in their lives. Internalizing, rationalizing, and avoidance of barriers reduce their chance of career advancement.
What can companies do to develop female talent within their organizations? Companies need to acknowledge ‘Second-Generation Gender Bias’ – a bias which creates an environment reflective of the values of men in the workplace, but includes subtle discrimination against women. Female talent development needs to recognize ability, ensure equitable professional development, provide access to peer-networking opportunities, and afford women affirmation through the creation of leadership identity. It is enhanced when more women are placed in leadership roles. This counters a male-oriented work culture that only values gender-based qualities and maintains the status quo.
There are many things women can do to promote gender equity including promoting discussion of gender bias in their workplace. They can be positive role models for and mentors to their female co-workers. And, self-advocacy is so important, as well. Women can build communities of support within companies where they feel safe to give candid feedback, discuss sensitive topics, and provide emotional support for each other.
Gender inequity starts early and continues throughout a woman’s life. Education of all stakeholders can make a real difference for women in the workplace. Women excel at all levels of education; grades; participation in GT programs, AP classes; and graduation rates. Yet, fail to rise to the highest levels in the corporate/academic world. Women at all ages should not be discouraged in seeking careers in male-dominated fields. Educators must acknowledge and address the ‘confidence gap’ that female students increasingly face over time in areas such as math & science. New approaches to education that can improve outcomes for women include design thinking, AI integration, and STEM equity.
There are many things that can ensure gender equity in the future including investing in lifelong learning opportunities, offering flexible work schedules and environments, and encouraging work-life balance. Gender equity in the workplace can be accomplished if companies mandate gender equity, establish a chief diversity officer, consider drawing workers from a broad diverse talent pool, and create open lines of communication.
This week we celebrated 10 YEARS of #gtchat on Twitter and were excited to welcome @DeborahMersino ~ founder and first moderator of Global #gtchat ~ as our guest!
A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Graphic courtesy Lisa Conrad.
Photo courtesy of Deborah Mersino.
Photo courtesy of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.
Image courtesy of Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources (AUS).