Breaking the glass ceiling
The “Glass Ceiling” is described as being “the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements” and has, for many years, prevented women from attaining top-ranking professional positions. Over the years, however, it has been noticed that a number of women have been challenging this notion, and have broken the dreaded glass ceiling, thereby increasing the number of female voices within the overall corporate sphere. This is a positive sign for the corporate world in general as the balance of genders within a working environment will increase the potential for gender-sensitive development and marketing of products and services, and will incorporate fresh perspectives from women. Indra Nooyi, President and CEO of PepsiCo, acknowledges her humble roots as well. She was born in Chennai, India, and focused her energies on studying well. She soon realized that women had to work twice as hard as men in the work sphere in order to have their efforts recognized and appreciated. She made an impact while working at PepsiCo by involving herself in even the minutest operational details of the company. She also ensured that her working relationships with colleagues were respectful, open and symbiotic. Another lesson which she learnt in life and elected to incorporate as a life mantra was to be true to herself, no matter where she was and who she was with. This honest and hardworking attitude has certainly borne fruit as she is regarded as being one of the most powerful people in the business sphere, and is among both Forbes and TIME lists of the worlds most influential people. Marissa Mayer has broken the glass ceiling as well as an age barrier by becoming one of the youngest CEO’s of a Fortune 500 company. She became the CEO of Yahoo! in July 2012, and subsequently announced her pregnancy; she therefore became one of the only pregnant women in the corporate sphere to have taken on the gargantuan task of rescuing a corporate giant while expecting a child. A self-professed geek who was introduced to computers only while in college, Mayer’s contribution to Google as it’s 20th employee is significant; she broke a little ceiling while working there, and later broke numerous others while assuming the top position at Yahoo. She is known for preferring to follow what might be called a non-feminist professional agenda; she recently banned telecommuting, and instead insisted that Yahoo! employees be physically present at work. This decision might have upset work-from-home mothers but it served to awaken Yahoo! and infused some much-needed fresh energy and ideation into the company. Mayer has categorically stated that she would like to be known for her professional prowess than her juggling skills as a working mom, and controversy aside, she has the potential to break numerous other glass ceilings as well by treating both genders equally without bias. While the glass ceiling still exists within the corporate sphere, it is encouraging to note that women are finding ways to challenge it, and are breaking it with their ambition and dedication to professional excellence. Supporting them all the way are the women who did it before them and are currently at the top of their professional ladders. Notable among them is Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of the book “Lean In”, who propagates the importance of being able to juggle official duties along with others, and has written her book with the intention of facilitating the shattering of the glass ceiling forever. It is therefore hoped that in a few years, the glass ceiling will be a thing of the past, and that more ambitious women will make it to the top, beyond discrimination and enroute to acquiring high quality leadership and management skills.