Cracked Glass Ceiling-Rise Of The Women Planet

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on January 21, 2014

Janet Yellen is ready to take on the world as Federal Reserve Chief, Christine Lagarde - director of IMF, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White , are some of the leaders who wield massive economic influence. Closer home, Arundhati Bhattacharya became the1st woman chief of SBI in 206 years, Indra Nooyi ,Chanda Kochar , Shikha Sharma are well known for their exemplary feat in the key economic roles. They all infiltrated and ascended in the male-dominated worlds of economics and finance. Those accomplishments are admirable, but they are rare.

For women, the path to the right to work has been long and arduous, fraught with roadblocks at every turn. But thanks to those very women for laying the groundwork, 21st century women the world over are free to flourish. We’re looking at the women who have reached the pinnacle of the business world, the ones who are working their way there, and the ones who took those first steps out into the working world. Generation by generation, women have progressed from kitchen to shop floor to boardroom. Today, women make 70% to 80% of the consumption decisions in most countries.

While there's a long way to go, the gender gap is narrowing, with women increasingly taking top slots in areas such as business, politics and academics. Most major companies today are run by men, but the rules and policies that frame their existence are increasingly being shaped by women. Fortune’s latest list of the 50 most powerful women in business included women at the helm of computer technology, food, manufacturing, business services, finance, media, and retail companies. Today, female CEOs run companies involved in practically every industry. Whether its Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Marrisa Mayer of Yahoo, Meg Whitman of HP or Ginni Rometty, the 1st woman CEO of IBM, women today have reached heights which would make their mothers and grandmothers rub their eyes in amazement. Ontario's first female premier is headlining this year's annual Leadership Summit for Women at McMaster University. In yet another demonstration of their wisdom and power, women played a key role in bringing Iceland out of its recession. When its economy crashed, the banks, the funds, the government—everything was taken over by women. So when it's messy, you get the women in. But when the mess is sorted, keep the women.

Not only in business, but women leaders are now rising in every field, right from politics to entertainment to astronomy to sports. You name it and they are there. Think about Maria Sharapova, Williams sisters, Saina Nehwal, Madonna, Meryl Streep , Kalpana Chawla , Bachendri Pal etc etc.and you know there’s no field where women have not entered and left their mark.

European Commission has a long-term goal of having women make up 40% of nonexecutive board positions by 2020. Another positive and promising trend is that women’s representation in the MBA programs has reached an all time high in 2013, and this is expected to grow. Also, by 2020, the percentage of women in the workforce will rise by 6.2%. So, if the rightness of their cause has not brought about equal treatment for women in the workplace by then, their sheer force of numbers surely will.

With all the accomplishments we have made, we have only just begun. There is so much more that must be accomplished for women. Despite everything that has happened, we are still not close to seeing deserving number of females in the leadership roles in any industry. Women still don't have true equal pay and still don't have equal access to jobs, the women CEOs form only 14% of the total leaders in the world. As women move ahead, their career momentum can be derailed by a variety of factors. The pay ratio between men and women is an example of a potential disruption to whether women feel their career ambitions are supported or discouraged. And in the US, while women make up nearly half of the labour force today, only 18 Fortune 500 CEOs (3.6 percent) are female. Women routinely encounter bias in the workplace severe enough that large numbers (55% in India, 48% in China, and 40% in Brazil) disengage or consider dropping out altogether. Not only this, even in the field of sports, as celebrated as Wimbledon and American Open, women champions get way less than their male counterparts

In Dr. Gail Gross’s words , it is right to say that, while we can look back with pride on the accomplishments of women before us, we must also look forward with determination to break down the remaining barriers that limit women's opportunities.

The cracks have started to appear in the glass ceiling but there’s a long way before the glass breaks. To say the least, the revolution has just begun

This article has been authored by Ruchira Shukul from IMI, New Delhi

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