I know this is a bit of a controversial topic, and I tend to avoid controversy over here in blog land, as I strive to make my blog a positive environment. However, I’ve felt it on my heart a lot lately to write about the glass ceiling, especially as it is gaining more and more attention this during this presidential election. I’m not saying anyone is wrong or right, just simply sharing my story and what I’m doing in an effort to shift the paradigm. (If this isn’t your thing, I’ll be off my soapbox and back with a post about jewelry tomorrow… Hope to see you then!)
Flash back to 2012.
I had no idea what the glass ceiling was, but if I had known the term, I would have argued with you that it didn’t exist. I had grown up under the impression that if you were a woman and could excel at something that was male dominated, you could pretty much write your own ticket. Before taking a leap of faith and opening a preschool so that she could spend more time with me, my mom handled logistics for a trucking company. My dad has always told me that I could do anything I put my mind to. But then I started getting picked on during a college capstone project by a liaison for the company affiliated with the course, and I not only learned what the glass ceiling was, but that it was alive and well.
After discussing how ridiculous the project had gotten to be with a friend who had the same class on a different day, she agreed. “I’m so sick of ***. He’s such a pig. He has tried to set me up with his son multiple times, even though I’ve told him I’m not interested and that I have a boyfriend. Last week, he told us that he liked our class better than your class because we always wore dresses. Maybe you should try wearing a dress and see if that helps. Ha!”
That night, I went to discuss it with my then boyfriend. He was studying to be a doctor, but he was minoring in women’s studies.
“My sorority sister told me that the liaison commented on liking her class better because they wore skirts and dresses, and my class wore pants. Do you think I should start wearing a dress to class?”
“Look, if someone told me that I would do better in a class if I wore a dress, I would wear a dress. Like as a man, I would wear a dress. But no, I don’t think it’s right.”
Flash forward to 2016.
Somehow, despite my pant-wearing ways, I passed the class and graduated. I spent two years working in small business development under a female boss before accepting a job offer in economic development – a male dominated industry, where I would be the only female working in an office with three men. At first it was a culture shock, as I had gone straight from living in the sorority house to working in an cool, downtown office that was predominantly female.
I literally cannot say enough nice things about the men that I work with; they are respectful, supportive, and patient. But I’m not always met with that kind of attitude, or any kind of positive attitude, both by women and men. (If I had a dollar for every time I was called a secretary or on the other end of a comment that would never be spoken to a man, I would be living the high life.)
One of the things that really struck me lately is that despite the fact that this seems to be such a topic of discussion, I see more and more situations where the glass ceiling becomes very apparent. Just last week, a family member found out that she actually wouldn’t be getting a job position she was promised, despite her hire for that position being announced, because she was “too much of an asset in the position she was in.” Her male co-worker, on the other hand, continued to move forward with his career and the new position.
What I’m doing.
Maybe I’m naive, but I’m a firm believer that everyone can make a difference. Here are a few things that I’m doing in my every day life to put a crack in the glass ceiling:
I’m supporting female business owners. My friend Jenny is preparing to launch Confetti Social, a social media strategy company. My friend Nicole owns Pop Fizz Party, a company that provides event specific party boxes. My friend Cori owns Mimi Mae Boutique, an online boutique that’s preparing for a brick and mortar location. I’m so proud of my friends, and I think one of the most important things we can do as women is support other women in business.
I’m using my influence to make a positive change. Which includes writing posts like this one, and striving to create content that is positive and encouraging to women.
I’m continuing to push forward. If I told you that I was never discouraged by the glass ceiling, I would be telling a bold faced lie. But I come from a long line of determined, feisty women, and I refuse to give up or be silent. (Or find a new career, as a candidate for POTUS has suggested women receiving less than appropriate treatment should do.) My biggest motivator is knowing that one day I may have a daughter, and I want her to grow up in a world without a glass ceiling.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Happy Thursday, friends!