Whether you’ve heard about it, read about it or experienced it yourself – there is no hiding that the ‘glass ceiling’ is a real and confronting concept. I remember the first time I had heard about the glass ceiling in primary school and I thought it had to do with greenhouses or plants. Little did I know it was about the imbalance in opportunities in the workplace most commonly due to gender.
When writing this post, I looked towards Google for some visual inspiration. If you were to look up glass ceiling on Google images, a shockingly significant number of images popping up all had to do with women being trapped by glass barrier whilst men stood above them. This inspired me to research further into this week’s blog theme which is ‘climbing the corporate ladder,’ in honour of WiB’s most recent event the annual Sponsor Luncheon. Here, our keynote speaker Stephenie Rodriguez shared her story and determination to pursue a career in entrepreneurship focused on women.
Stephenie is the founder of WanderSafe, a compact non-violent personal safety device helping travellers, particularly women, feel safe when travelling alone. At the luncheon, Rodriguez asks the crowd if they have ever been in a scenario where they had been walking alone, at any time and felt afraid or feared for their life.
Unsurprisingly, all hands went up in the room.
The journey to WanderSafe, however, was not simple. Stephenie had been apart of the technology bubble in the 1990s before moving into publication and magazines after its abrupt burst. This did not slow down Stephenie who continued to travel the world working various jobs before experiencing a dangerous assault of her own which prompted her to create WanderSafe.
Another example of a powerful women who climbed the corporate ladder is Gloria Allred, an American women’s rights attorney who has devoted four decades of her legal career to representing women in high profile cases against popular male figures. Allred’s campaign to help women comes from a very personal place of her own after experiencing sexual assault which ended in an illegal abortion.
These traumatic events only motivated Gloria further to be one of the most iconic voices for women in the community. She is currently representing 33 of the women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault even though the statute of limitations had passed for many of their charges. Gloria states that “there was no legal option for many of these women…but then realised that they really do need a voice…they deserve a voice.” Amongst other cases she has participated in is the reinstatement of transgender Miss Universe contestant Jenna Talackova who was disqualified from Trump’s pageant because of her birth gender.
Although society is working towards closing the gender gap in workplaces and breaking the ‘glass ceiling.’ There is no denying that at the moment it still exists, but I hope that this blog post has shed some light on the issue and inspired young girls to keep striving because glass can break.