Sadly, many women still find themselves earning less than their male counterparts –72 cents to every dollar a man makes. This unnecessary wage gap stubbornly remains, despite decades of attempts at change. And it doesn't matter what career or industry you're in. Even in the best careers for women, these challenges can make it difficult for women to reach the top.
|Ready to achieve your career goals? First find out what career you can succeed at.|
1. Discrimination and Gender Bias
Unfortunately, gender bias remains ingrained in the business world. Women are often incorrectly perceived as more emotional, less reliable, and more likely to leave a job for family reasons. Additionally, the traits we typically associate with leadership – extroverted, confident, rational, controlled – are widely (and falsely) considered the sole domain of men.
Despite the fact that gender discrimination is illegal and officially eliminated, these deep-rooted misconceptions run through nearly every industry.
2. “Good Old Boys Club”
Related to the gender discrimination is the ‘good old boy’s club’— a generations-old business network where, needless to say, women are not invited. This crony mentality may not be openly acknowledged, but behind closed doors, it’s as strong as ever. It keeps women off of the golf courses and out of the board rooms, and therefore distances them from key strategic and decision-making opportunities.
What can be done about the barriers that get in the way of women achieving their career goals?
1. Female Mentors and Role Models
In several prominent companies including IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, a women-only mentoring system helps women achieve their career objectives. Female business leaders take protégés on and impart valuable encouragement and guidance.
Studies repeatedly show that just as women are often passed over for promotions, they are also often passed over for mentoring opportunities. Women-only mentoring systems help bridge that gap.
2. Confronting Stereotypes
Often, the reason women have a difficult time establishing themselves in the business world is because they butt up against common stereotypes. If and when you hear others make derogatory or depreciating comments about women in the workplace, speak up. Every small step helps contribute overall to a world where the wage gap can close and the glass ceiling can be lifted once and for all.
If you’re a woman who's dissatisfied with her current career or you feel you’re not being taken seriously, invest in building your brand. Take our powerful 15-minute career test to learn more about your business personality and which careers you would be best suited for. Then, use parts of the comprehensive narrative to build a stronger resume that will communicate your key strengths.
Later, when you're in the midst of your successful career, remember to take another young woman under your wing. It can't help but boost your own career karma!