The Glass Ceiling

You are stuck in a room with a glass ceiling. You can see where you want to go, where you want to be. You can almost touch it. But the glass is as thick as concrete and you cannot break through no matter how much you try. Then you ask yourself, where is the door when you need one?

I recently had this experience.  I thought I had found the door, but it was a mirage.  The door I found took me somewhere else.

I am using this analogy to describe the difficulties black women face when wanting to progress their career.  According to the Race at Work 2015 Survey Insights, black women have plenty of ambition, drive, qualifications and direction.  We want to move up the career ladder, not dangle at the bottom, or worse, not be on it. The problem is the ladder does not come down far enough for you to climb beyond the glass ceiling.  And there is no one to open the door to let us out.

Unlike our white female counterparts who appear to be benefiting from the privilege that comes from sponsorship/mentoring, because of the shared racial identity with white men.  This is not merely an assertion on my part.  It is evident by the noticeable increase in white women in senior positions, as reported by the Institute for Government in their report entitled Civil Service gender gap in 2016. The majority of black women continue to struggle to attract sponsors/mentors in influential positions who can help them to progress their career. In situations where black women are able to gain a sponsor to support their career progression, the onus then falls on them to be both sponsors and mentors to aspiring black women and black men. And as we know, the statistics show black women are few in numbers in senior positions, or positions of authority where they have the autonomy to be sponsors and thus, face the additional pressure of tokenism and conformity.  A pressure not generally experienced by their white colleagues.

I am a strong believer that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to, as long as you are prepared to work hard, be resilient and persevere.   I am also of the opinion that if you cannot break the glass/concrete ceiling in one company move to another.

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