Published on 21st January 2015
Being an ambitious woman can be a lonely place sometimes.
The workplace is undoubtedly becoming more diverse. However, aiming to break through that “glass ceiling” can often seem daunting if you don’t have a mentor or a role model to inspire and give you confidence.
Having this confidence to be true to yourself is what distinguishes the women who have broken the mould from those who are yet to pluck up the courage.
The most successful employers actively encourage this confidence, and it is this crucial aspect of the diversity culture that I would like to highlight in this article.
At Ambition, we have been running our “Women With Ambition” networking events and seminars since 2006. They are specifically designed to allow successful woman to share their experiences with others, inspiring them and engendering a belief that they too can follow along that path one day.
This is the sort of forum that doesn’t exist in many workplaces, but I would challenge that maybe it should? Wouldn’t it be great if there were more women mentors, specifically charged with helping their protégées overcome the hurdles that they had to? Wouldn’t it be great if more companies held diversity awareness events to highlight the untapped business opportunities that are being swept under the carpet? Not because they “had to”, but because they believed that it made a significant difference.
Our events are about sharing some common concerns and are equally well attended by woman and men. Lots of men welcome the benefits of gender equality and are interested in how to make the journey a little smoother.
Women should have the confidence to talk to close colleagues about their concerns – whether the colleagues are male or female.
While it might be important to have a female mentor, getting a different perspective on issues can also often be of great value, and it is a great way to reach out across the “divide.”
Another more personal way of feeling a little more supported is sharing other people’s experiences through their blogs, and being supported by your employer in writing your own blogs. There are a huge number of potential role models out there who are more than happy to share their journey, and this is no less real than sitting in a room listening to their story. If anything, a blog is more condensed and the message more profound than listening to a 30-minute speech. Just reading a couple of blogs can give you the determination to get through a difficult day.
Increasing amounts of people have been there and done that. You can too. I am personally delighted that we are see countless more female success stories now than we were when we launched the initiative in 2006. The glass ceiling has been broken to a certain extent, but it is fair to say that sections still remain. It will disappear yet further when employers do everything in their power to give their female employees the confidence to feel that they aren’t alone.