My story with Dave, the kids, Cooper, VW's & rugby

The Glass Ceiling

Is there such a thing as a Glass Ceiling? Women have grown up thinking that in business, life is much harder for woman to get to the top and will bring up the phrase a “glass ceiling”. This hard to break through barrier that stops women getting on in their careers and taking top jobs.

Yes there is a lack of women when you look at the political world leaders or the woman who appear on the rich lists, such as the recent Billionaires rich list, which includes a couple of women but their wealth has been inherited. But what is the real reason for the glass ceiling?

Personally I haven’t struggled with the glass ceiling, perhaps I just found a way to break through it and carry on with my career without letting anything getting in my way. The internet industry is a very male dominated sector but there are more and more women becoming leaders in the sector but should this be seen as anything unusual and should women be treated any differently?

A while ago there was a flurry of women only search conferences. But that just makes more of it, as the guys don’t hold men only conferences and why should there be any split between genders? If you are good at what you do then just get on and do it and integrate with the rest of the people in the sector whether they are men or women. I have always preferred working and socialising with men more than women as it’s a much friendlier environment, no bitching for starters, and everyone just gets on with what they need to. Crikey my worst nightmare would be working in an office or company that was dominated by women.

glass ceiling

I feel that women create their own glass ceiling. If they want to work flat out then they can get to the same top positions as men do, but I think we inflict a limit on ourselves as to how far we want to go. For instance if a woman has children, and I have two, then no matter what I aim for in my career my maternal instincts will always take over and I have to think of the kids. There are of course alternatives, like I could pack off the kids to boarding school but what on earth is the point of that? Even though I have got two children I have still managed to get where I am today, maybe along the way I have had to work harder to get there due to my other commitments, but it hasn’t stopped me so far and as they get older working life gets easier.

Some women of course choose not to have kids and they can focus all of their attention on their career path but most women don’t have the acumen to work at such high levels in business or in industry to enable them to lead large teams and companies effectively. Women in their own makeup are naturally more caring people which is why certain sectors have a dominance of women where there is then a lack of men. There isn’t much we can change when it comes to biological factors but there is room for all of us to find the place that we fit into.

One of the women on the panel of Question Time tonight (which had a women only audience – why?) resigned from her high powered top job as she felt that she was “female window dressing”. I wonder though if the rest of her colleagues thought of her like that or perhaps she just couldn’t take the pace. It’s a very good excuse to pull the sexist card but I wonder when gender will stop becoming an issue in recruitment, promotion and business leadership?

Image by Rogue3

6 Comments

  • Zoey

    Hi Becky, I agree with you on many of these points. I have never once felt my gender has been a disadvantage to my career (in a male dominated area industry). In fact there are many times when I feel it has positively contributed to my progression. Yes, as a woman you do have to fight your corner… but doesn’t everyone, male or female? It is part and parcel of an advancing career and the day to day reality of ‘getting stuff done’. Simply being challenged isn’t about gender. Boyish banter which often goes on in male dominated environments, can exclude women, but that is just the way that blokes get along. It is not a deliberate barrier to promotion. It is no different to a gaggles of women gossiping. Quite frankly, once you step foot inside a board room, where most men are concerned, business is business, politics are more easily left at the door. I love the kinship of working alongside women, and am lucky to work with some extremely talented, switched on women. However, I think that us women also have a habit of taking ourselves way too seriously. Yes, if you want a family and a career, as a woman, there are times when you will have to push harder… really really hard in fact. But I’m sure most sensible women know that this is the deal from the outset. It can mean there are difficult choices to make which feel unfair. But – 51% of the rest of the population have to go through a similar thing. Whether you’re a CEO or a shop assistant, everyone has difficulty balancing time for family and working hard to provide for that family. No one is a martyr. Finally, and sadly, I agree, there are times when women can be architects of their own (and other women’s) exclusion from the career ladder. Bottom line is, if you’re amazing at what you do, no business with a future is going stand in your way regardless of whether you are male or female.

  • Kean

    Personally I don’t see the problem, but I could just be ignorant to the fact that many women still get treated differently to men in given situations.

    With that being said surely the ‘glass ceiling’ is just an excuse for women I’m sure the current Chancellor of Germany or Margaret Thatcher would say although they maybe had to work harder to get into their positions nothing stopped them achieving their goal.

    It’s probable that the drive to succeed isn’t as great in the majority of women, like you mentioned some have kids and then are the primary carers for them, disrupting their careers in the process. Sure it’s possible to have both but you need that drive to succeed, which like so many things may simply be down to genetics.

    Men and Women will never be equals in all cases but I don’t think women are being discriminated against simply because their women, not anymore.

  • Piggynap

    I totally agree about all-women conferences exacerbating the “problem” – this industry is (in my experience) so inclusive that it actually feels like they’re pointing to a problem that doesn’t really exist.

    I’ve been really lucky in that the women I’ve worked with in SEO have been laid-back, but I also agree that an office made of up men is an easier environment to be in. The one office I worked in that was almost all female was horribly bitchy :s I think most women attracted to SEO/web stuff are pretty geeky though so less likely to have bitchy personalities.

    I think women, like anyone, have to be driven but having to choose between kids and a career is a unique problem. IMO you can’t have it all – but there’s no glass ceiling in our industry. It’s just the choices you make and how much effort you commit to get to the top.

  • Becky

    @david .. I didn’t really “grab” the top spot .. i worked bloody hard for it. Even before Bronco I gained a management role while on maternity leave with my youngest son. I still think if women want to succeed they can’t use kids as an excuse but make the choice of what their priorities are.

  • Steve

    Interesting rant Becky 🙂 Similar to Kean I feel I could be ignorant of certain facts, but personally I’ve never seen any form of discrimation on the basis of gender in the workplace.

  • Becky

    @david .. yep.. no excuses for the ladies .. without being a feminist, we are perfectly capable of doing anything that a man can do when it comes to intelligence.