Are We Working in a Glass Office?

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.


You may break through the glass ceiling, but what about glass walls?

Shatter all the stereotypes of the working woman and break out of your glass office

It’s a topic that’s decades old in the corporate world: the glass ceiling. That barrier to success what so many women in the business world face. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s still easier to be a man in today’s corporate culture. Sure, some industries are more old boy clubs than others, but it still takes a lot more for a woman to succeed than a man. I started thinking about the glass ceiling a little more the other day and it struck me that there isn’t just one barrier to success, there are many! As a woman, we battle more than just a glass ceiling, we fight against glass walls as well. So what do I think are the four walls that keep women from succeeding like they should?

Pay: Let’s be honest, a big part of knowing that you’ve achieved success is a bigger paycheck and our paychecks have statistically been proven to be lower for women than they are for men in the positions.

How to shatter this glass wall: It’s simple really. Do your research. When you go into your boss’s office for an annual review or raise, have the data there in front of you. Know what people in your position are being paid and don’t accept anything less.

Promotion: For some reason, many women have to work harder than men do in order to get the same types of promotions in their field. Whether this is because women are more team oriented than men or whether men are more vocal about their leadership and opinions, I cannot say.

How to shatter this glass wall: Don’t let yourself get lost in the group. Be sure to point out your successes and show off the work that you’ve accomplished. Be vocal and don’t back down.

Family: There’s a stereotype out there that women who are working mothers or who took time to start a family simply aren’t cut out for c-level management. This, of course, is bologna since mothers learn better than almost anyone how to best manage their time and multitask.

How to shatter this glass wall: Take what people perceive as negatives and turn them into positives. As a mother, you have a different insight that you can bring to the board. Your schedule is more fine-tuned than anyone else’s and your multitasking abilities are well honed.

Communication: It’s a fact. Men and women communicate in very different ways. Women talk to solve problems and men talk to be heard or appear dominant.

How to shatter this glass wall: Learn how to effectively communicate your opinions and solutions to a male audience. I know it’s not fair that you have to tailor your communication to them, but for now, you have to learn to play their way. I have no doubt that soon enough, they’ll be playing the game our way.


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