- Posted by Janet Zaretsky
- On April 25, 2017
- 0 Comments
You hear about another female colleague’s success and promotion. You see her. You go up to her and say, “Congratulations! I am so happy for you!” Inside, you are jealous. You might even be resentful. You might look at her and think, “What did she do to deserve that? I did more, why not me?”
Maybe you are not subject to those feelings and don’t focus on your ‘shortcomings’ when some other female colleague or acquaintance achieves great success. That is awesome! However, I find that most women are dealing with this in some measure. Why and why should you care?
Since we were kids, we want to be good, maybe even the best and want to be recognized as such. That is normal, and frankly, healthy as that is what often drives us to succeed. That is not what I am talking about. What I am referring to is the paradigm for women in business that there is only ‘so much room at the top’ for women leaders. If that is true, then when one woman gets that bump, there is less opportunity for me, is the concern in the background for most of us.
How do we alter that? First, we, every one of us women in business today, need to be honest about it. It is there. Society and current culture and statistics bear out that there are very few women in the top ranks of any field. Although 51% of the world population is female, 4% Fortune 500 CEO’s are women, 18% women in federal government at the top levels, 38% of the countries in the world have had a female leader, etc. Thus, the feeling that there is ‘only so much room at the top’ is natural.
We can alter that paradigm. We can shatter the glass ceiling. We will need to first deal with ourselves and where we have allowed the statistics to be real in our own individual lives. Consider this: Every time you don’t negotiate your salary or take less money then you know you deserve, you have said that it is ok to pay women less. Every time you don’t put your hand up or apply for that promotion or higher level job because you have a bit of self-doubt or don’t have 100% of the qualifications, you have said that women are not capable. Every time you don’t intervene when you are the victim of or witness sexual harassment, you have said it is ok.
We train people by our actions or our inactions what is acceptable and what is not. Until you, and I, and every woman is willing to say enough, to step up, to step out of our comfort zones and take the risk, nothing will alter. That can start with admitting your jealousy, admitting you are subject to ‘there is only so much room at the top’ thinking and then, do something different. Every time you take an action and intervene in sexual harassment, stand up for making the money you are worth, take a new position and ‘climb’ the career ladder, that is a win for every woman and for the future. Every action makes a difference.
When one woman succeeds, it is a triumph for us all. We want to start shouting from the mountaintops “Yes!” every single time any one of us gets promoted, gets more money, gets hired in the position she wants! Let’s do this!