Outdated biases keep the glass ceiling firmly placed above the heads of many women in STEMM today.
When the image of a glass ceiling is firmly kept in place and talked about, it impedes innovation, hinders creativity, reduces productivity and diminishes financial gains.
There are two main reasons why this is still happening:
- perceived conflict between work and life responsibilities, and
- entrenched attitudes about women’s capabilities to be a leader.
These antiquated attitudes about women’s ability to work, parent, lead, manage projects, lead laboratories or run giant corporations is closely mirrored in the attitudes of many in the world of STEMM.
These outdated attitudes, only perpetuate the glass ceiling and make it become a reality if we continue to accept it. Yes, they have insidiously crept into the way organisations operate on a day-to-day basis however, there is a way to counteract this and smash this ceiling once and for all, takes a multi-pronged approach.
As Ghandi said ‘you must be the change you want to see in the world’. First, we remake ourselves then the ripple effect will positively impact the world around us.
If we are unable, unwilling or not sure how to change, then we are doing ourselves a disservice and continuing to accept the status quo.
Are women their own worst enemies?
Before you hunt me down, think about each of the following statements from recent research, conversations and testimonials:
- Women often do not ask for more. They are better at negotiating for someone else rather than themselves. Many women do not know their worth so settle for less.
- Women on the whole will not apply for a job unless they have 100% of the criteria in contrast to men, who will apply when they fulfil 40% of criteria.
- Women tend to allow themselves to be pushed into stereotypical roles and do not speak up against it.
So, what is required to smash that glass ceiling once and for all?
It is all about how we show up. If we believe there is a ceiling, keep talking about it and expecting it to be there, we will continue to perpetuate the limitations. If we show up with an attitude of feeling less than, insignificant, not good enough, and not worthy then we will be treated in such a way.
Whereas if we show up in a meeting, on zoom, in a room with the belief that, I am equal to every single other person here, believe this and act in this way, then slowly we will change the landscape of how we are treated.
The key to breaking the entire glass ceiling is to change the way we show up. We must believe in ourselves, our skills, abilities and worth. We must cultivate an optimistic confident mindset and then follow through with consistent action.
When we have a true optimistic confident mindset, we are self-aware, will contribute as an equal with confidence and converse with clarity of thought and strength. When we show up in this way, we stand up for what we believe in and go for a win-win-win outcome in every situation.
After all, we are talking about glass and we can see what’s on the other side.
Is that not enough impetus in itself to keep developing confidence to smash that ceiling?