Author: Elena Stewart, USA
Women today are active in the workplace, better educated, qualified, and working in managerial roles.
Despite this, representation in the upper echelons of business remains filled by men. How can women ensure their advancement at work, moving past hurdles like sexism and gender imbalance, to reach the top?
According to the International Labor Organization, 75% of businesses have equal opportunity or diversity and inclusion programs in place. But research also indicates that these policies alone aren’t enough to fix the gender imbalance at top levels. Our advice? Stop waiting for that perfect opportunity for advancement – and make the opportunity yourself! Try to show your management and leadership abilities wherever you can – whether that’s in opting to lead a project, initiating change, or throwing out great ideas. Be strong and stand firm when it comes to seeking promotion opportunities. Speak with your hiring or direct manager about job openings for career advancement. No one will help you unless you help yourself – so take the initiative as much as possible!
The Pew Research Center reports that qualifications and education are deemed some of the essential criteria for career advancement. You will need the right skills to stand out amongst your peers, navigate sexism and present yourself as an exceptional candidate.
One of the best ways to do that is by sharpening your skills by going back to school. For example, earning an accounting degree will allow you to develop your passion for finance and investment through topics like marketing, business ethics, and economics. Or, you could opt for a business management degree that is designed to help you stand out. Either way, online learning is a great option to stay relevant in your current job while supplementing invaluable skills in a flexible and personalized manner.
As you progress higher on the leadership ladder, you need to cement your authority amongst your peers. Working your way to the top can be lonely, especially without other women to support and advise you. We suggest getting comfortable with your new leadership, instead of apologizing for it. Accept your recognitions with grace and confidence rather than downplaying your accolades. Don’t apologize when it isn’t your fault. Business requires soft skills in self-esteem, confidence, and self-assuredness – so handle your success to project your power.
Did you know that men are twice as likely to be hired as women? 90% of leadership in the U.S. is male-dominated, while women make up just 4.1% of Fortune 500 CEOs. What do these statistics tell you? That there is profound workplace sexism out there. To shatter the glass ceiling, you’ll need as much help as you can get. Find a mentor to help guide you in your career goals. Another way to tackle this is to find a sponsor in your organization. A sponsor will position their protege for opportunities and network on her behalf. This will change the game, as you’ll now have the backing to help tackle the rampant sexism that is holding you back.
There has been so much progress in the representation of women in sports, technology, and even government! But we have a long way to go – there is equal pay to be got and higher leadership roles to aspire to. Advancing in the workplace and shattering that glass ceiling starts with individual effort. So take it step by step, take up space, and stand your ground. You can do this!
Every young woman needs a team of women supporting and cheering her on. That’s where Women in Finance and Investment Network comes in. We wish to transform the finance and investment industry through meetups, conferences, and programs by carving out female representation in this male-dominated industry.
Become a member today or contact us here for more information.