With all the advances we have made, it is unbelievable that we still see such a difference in the male versus female category in corporate America and beyond. We give the message of equality more freely, yet in practicum it is proven over and over that we are not there yet.
While close to 52 percent of professional jobs are held by women, they are substantially underrepresented in leadership roles. Only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. At this rate, it’s estimated that women won’t achieve leadership parity until 2085.
However, not all the blocks facing women can be attributed to the glass ceiling imposed by the traditional workplace. Women often hold themselves back from advancement with self-imposed barriers. Why is this? And what can we do to empower women to their full potential?
Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy – What is holding you back?
Women hold themselves back in the workplace by questioning themselves. This is not a surprise as women have not had the commonality men have had in the corporate world throughout our history. So what is holding women back?
- A fear of failure. While men know their personal worth isn’t determined by professional failures, young women often fear that workplace missteps will cost them their job, reputation, and success.
- Family matters. Some women fear that employers will view them as vulnerable, inefficient, or unmotivated if they decide to start a family.
- An inferiority complex. Some women still believe that men are stronger leaders, have better ideas, and are more equipped to achieve success.
What can be done to stop this? Women can only break through these barriers by helping themselves. Here are three things every woman can do to propel herself forward:
- Be yourself. Don’t change your appearance or attitude to appeal to the “masculine” side of business. Use the unique skills you have as a woman to be the power and support needed.
- Trust your instincts. Women are wired with great intuition. Use that to your advantage.
- Embrace mistakes. Failure is a certain step on the way to success. Use a mistake as a learning experience, dust yourself off and move on. If it was a lesson it is no longer a failure, but a step in the process.
Women are great at building relationships, empowering others, tuning into people’s needs, and balancing a staggering number of responsibilities — skills that are great assets, not liabilities, in the workplace.
Empower yourself to reach your full potential. At the end of the day it is your mind set that will break all barriers and lead to success. This is true for everyone.