Throughout history, women have rarely been regarded as leaders, ambitious, high-achieving or outspoken. As a result, they face an exorbitant amount of adversity while trying to reach leadership positions in the workplace today; they must counteract centuries-long-enforced traditional roles as quiet, soft spoken caretakers and homemakers to reach the top level and be awarded the leadership-related traits that have been so long-associated with men. Unfortunately, women can’t just simply adopt the traits associated with (male) leadership to be promoted -- when they do, they are seen as pushy, unpleasant and overbearing. Instead, they have to balance traditional gender roles with leadership qualities to be seen as eligible, like a tightrope walk to the corner office. But, they obviously have to be working in order to be eligible for a promotion. Sadly, female employees are often squeezed out too soon to have a chance.
Often, when a woman is motivated to challenge tradition and pursue a career and a family, it is often impossible. When women take charge, speak up and ask for flexibility in their schedules, employers stubbornly refuse the option and leave many women with no option other than quitting so they can maintain their household responsibilities, clearly eliminating them from the race to the top. Even when they are working though, women’s achievements often go unnoticed-- not something that helps one’s chance at getting a promotion.
Embarrassingly enough, studies have shown that the most effective method to get women’s voices heard is a no-interrupting rule, enacted while people are presenting. Without this elementary technique, women are consistently either ignored or seen as pushy/bossy when sharing their ideas. Obviously, likability plays a role in promotion consideration, so who are the ones with no chance at promotion? The weird girl quietly sitting over in the corner and the bitch who always rudely interjects into the discussion.
Unfortunately, women themselves are also responsible for their failure to reach the c-suites. Immediately after college, only 7% of women negotiate their starting salary compared to the 57% of men that do. The lack of confidence to demand more is purely tied to the gender roles that have undermined their motivation and ambition from birth. As a result, women consistently underestimate themselves and downplay their own achievements, often brushing off praise with comments accrediting their success to outside factors-not their own prowess.
Women who don’t ask for promotions and raises and new projects rarely get them because, well, they do not ask for them. Women who do ask for promotions and raises and new projects rarely get them because no one wants to reward someone who is pushy, overbearing, aggressive. For females in fields across the board, speaking up and not speaking up lead to the same result: no raise and no recognition, just suffocation.