From the Golden Globes to this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the topic on every group of leaders’ agenda is “women.” Thanks to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, and given the prospect of a record number of women running for office, women’s voices are being heard like never before.
At a recent event in Paris, former President Barack Obama was asked about essential leadership skills for the future. He responded that more women should be put into positions of power. “Not to generalize,” he said, “but they seem to have better capacity than men do.”
The term "glass ceiling" refers to the sometimes-invisible barrier to success that many women come up against in their careers. Management consultant Marilyn Loden coined the phrase almost 40 years ago but says it is still as relevant as ever.
"We need to address all of the constraints that are impacting the growth of women-owned start-ups," said Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, the agency responsible for the growth of Irish businesses and international trade. "In 2012, only 7% of the startups we were dealing with were female-led. We decided to try to understand some of the issues that might be impacting this.”
My first job out of college in the late 1980s was at Salomon Brothers, a trading house of cigar-smoking, expletive-spewing strivers. One day, I leaned over a colleague’s desk to work on a spreadsheet, and heard loud laughter from behind me; one of the guys was pretending to perform a sex act on me. Almost every day, I found a Xerox copy of male genitalia on my desk.