The Glass Wall
One of the most striking features of our industry is that while the junior ranks are dominated by women, as you move up the pay scale we gradually fade away. By the time you get to the boardroom we are practically invisible. Some would have us believe that this is just how life is. Women are less ambitious than men, they rule themselves out of jobs, they are more focused on raising a family, it has always been like this, always will, and it isn’t such a problem. They will then likely cite one of the handful of women who have broken through the glass ceiling and are leading an organisation.
Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob’s The Glass Wall challenges this perspective. It is based on the truth familiar to every women: that at some point (sometimes more than once) they will confront hurdle in their careers which their male peers know how to overcome. Unerman and Jacob ask the question do men know something women don’t? And the answer they give is a resounding yes. Women are excluded (not always deliberately) from conversations and interactions on which opinions are formed and careers accelerated. A glass wall exists between women and men, while we can see each other clearly through it we aren’t speaking the same language or have the same expectations.
Unerman and Jacob address the assumptions and prejudices that represent the biggest areas of the divide, from ambition (men have pots of it, women are equivocal ambivalent) and creativity (men like to peacock, women like to conform) to resilience (men thrive, women derailed). But they go beyond the rhetoric to provide practical strategies to help women succeed and tell individual stories of women facing these challenges.
It is essential reading not just for women looking to reach their full potential but also the men and women who lead them, detailing what each can do create a fairer, more gender balanced workplace.
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