How Can Women Break the Glass Ceiling?

For years, women have been fighting against the proverbial glass ceiling that holds them back. However, that ceiling has finally begun to crack as women take on more powerful roles and demand equality in the workplace. Of course, certain issues such as unequal pay are still evident in many organizations nationwide.

Yet it isn’t because of a lack of education — women earn more college degrees, especially master’s degrees, than men. Today, while many women are CEOs, executives, and managers, they only make up 16.9 percent of board directors at large companies, according to PBS. Clearly, the work is far from over.

Consider these tips on how women can shatter the glass ceiling–and help your students develop the skills they need to succeed as leaders.

“Don’t just sell your idea, sell your confidence in it.”

Be confident
If you don’t value what you bring to the table, who says that others will? Especially in the case of entrepreneurs, if you don’t walk into boardrooms confident that your idea will turn into a prosperous company, it will be quite difficult for an investor to buy in. Before you present an entrepreneurial idea, negotiate a promotion, or try to close a deal, know your worth. Don’t just sell your idea, sell your confidence in it.

Don’t be afraid to shake things up
Throughout history, women have had to fight against oppression, and there have been residual effects. Even if women do make it to the boardroom, they aren’t always speaking up — a 2012 study by Brigham Young University and Princeton found that only 25 percent of women talk in meetings. Even if they do speak up, there’s a chance they might be interrupted, or talked over, by a man – a 2014 study by George Washington University found that men interrupted their female counterparts 2.6 times during a conversation.

Even Twitter conversations are dominated by men — men are retweeted twice as much as women, according to AdWeek. However, professionals don’t get very far by being complacent and staying quiet. Offer your opinions and ideas when you have them. Oftentimes, it will earn you the respect you deserve.

Don’t follow, lead. Be ambitious
Ambition first starts with a goal, or a series of goals. What are you looking to accomplish? Your boss’s approval? A raise? An investment deal? Regardless of what your goal is, you need to set small achievement steps to get there. Studies show that setting goals can lead to great success — people are 50 percent more likely to achieve their goals if they lay them out, according to GoalBand. However, only 3 out of every 1000 people actually write their goals down on paper. Remember that no feat is too big — don’t avoid following your dream because you’re afraid of the challenges in between. Instead, set a goal that scares you and seems impossible. You might not realize the power and drive you hold until you try to truly assert it. Unleashing this goal can teach you things you never expected and take you down a new road of possibilities that you might not even notice otherwise.

Entrepreneurs need to be innovative and think outside the box. The same goes for breaking the glass ceiling. Don’t go down a road that so many others have already followed. Create a plan that no one has created before. You might be surprised by what you find when you do.

All of your students are best prepared for success in the workplace if they develop leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurial skills along with their technical skills. Download our free eBook, Women Entrepreneurs: Starting Up Success, for compelling data on why startups led by women are so successful, plus detailed statistics and strategies on finding financing for a startup.

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