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Successful Businesswomen and the Glass Ceiling


In 1984, the term ‘glass ceiling’ was coined. It referred to an invisible barrier, which was stopping women and other minorities from getting into business roles. The glass ceiling favored men over their gender, rather than ability, experience, or skills. While attitudes have changed, successful businesswoman are still significantly underrepresented. Luckily, women are taking the power into their own hands and are starting to climb the ladder, showing the world that they can do it. Charles Phillips, now Infor’s CEO, relied heavily on Safra Catz being a mistress in complete control in his time at Oracle. In his new role as CEO of Infor, he also has a number of strong powerful women at the helm. Furthermore, his own wife has helped him to launch Phillips Charitable Organizations, a philanthropic organization.

Although Slow, Progress Is Being Made

Even in 2016, it is a known fact that women are significantly underrepresented in the world of corporate leadership. Looking at the Fortune 500 companies, there are only 26 female CEOs, the equivalent of 5.2%. In terms of Board Members in those same companies, only 1 in 6 are female. It seems, therefore, that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place. But headway is being made. Although only 22% of women take up senior management positions, 52.2% of all managerial and professional occupations are made up of women.

Furthermore, with companies like Infor and Oracle setting an example by looking at skill, talent, and experience, there may just be a change on the horizon.
Woman business leader
It is a shame that very few women attain positions of leadership in the world of business, and even fewer reach the full top of the ladder. That being said, there is an increasingly large number of women-owned businesses across the country, and many women are taking on freelance work as well. As a result, there will soon have to be a different definition for the word “success”, which used to be defined as reaching the top of the ladder. Already, today, it goes above and beyond top level leadership in the corporate world.

Women are taking the power back and they are showing the world that they can achieve what they believe to be “the top” through their own routes, means, and ways. They have helped to shape and evolve today’s business world. They have shown the world that getting to the top does not have to be a direct vertical line, but that they can take a less travelled world instead. A road that is far more flexible and therefore improves quality of life and meaning of success as well. Women like Oracle’s Catz, or Karen Phillips herself are redefining what a career goal for a woman should look like.

It seems the shift means that women no longer want to smash and shatter the glass ceiling. Rather, they are circumventing it and getting to a very different top. A top in which quality of life takes precedence over making profits. A top in which people pursue their dreams and in which they respect the environment as well.


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