For centuries women were perceived as homemakers who lacked capabilities and qualifications needed for the job market. The liberation movement in the 1960’s & 70’s, fought to dissolve women inequality in the workplace. In search for equal pay and job opportunities, female activists got their voice heard after much effort and determination. Accessibility to educational programs gave rise to women leadership in the United States. Today, women hold professions in leadership, management, medicine, law, technology, and more. As pointed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), “The educational attainment of women ages 25 to 64 in the labor force has risen substantially over the past 40 years. In 2012, 38 percent of this group held college degrees, compared with 11 percent in 1970.”
Despite these remarkable statistics, women continue to experience gender biases and occupational discrimination. Like men, women have talents and skills that can influence businesses, and the entire world. Forbes highlights the top 100 most successful women in 2014. These women cracked the glass ceiling despite gender basis, attained professional goals, and continue to influence the world.
5 Empowering Tips for Women In the Workforce:
1. Think big. Don’t limit your potential with a confined mindset. Numerous employers are looking for individuals with your unique skills and talents. Think and envision life beyond the “now” to where you want to be in the future. Picture yourself five, ten, and fifteen years from today in the occupational role you desire. With this in mind, detail a plan of action for your “vision” of success and move towards that vision daily.
2. Value your innate being. Each of us brings distinct and remarkable gifts to the world. It’s important to tap into your individual strengths and occupational areas of interest. We can perform well in areas we learn to like, yet many times excel in areas we enjoy most.
3. Be confident in your skills. I’ve heard women say, “My career is great, but I have a lot more to learn before steeping into a leadership role.” It’s amazing the talent these women can bring to the professional world, yet many underestimate their value and potential. Being confident in your professional abilities implies to know your worth and value to any given employer. Rather than waiting for an ideal opportunity, begin to shine leadership skills in your current job role. In time, invested managers and leaders will take notice of your potential and diligence.
4. See yourself as a leader. Many expected mothers prepare their home for the arrival of the newborn, envisioning their world once the baby arrives. The change to motherhood like many other roles we strive to attain begins with a thought and mental vision. First we envision ourselves in a leadership position, to then think and behave like a leader.
5. Be courageous. Step out of your comfort zone to an internal and/or external journey towards success. For some, being brave is expressing new ideas or business approaches to those of higher position in the company. For others, courage is an external jump into a new professional venture or career of choice. In either case, the key is to take a bold stance in sharing your individual ideas and abilities in any given occupation.
Women can aspire influential leadership roles regardless of gender oppositions. Some powerful women have crackled the glass ceiling, succeeding in our times and inspiring many people around the world. Forbes outlines the world’s top 100 most successful and powerful women in 2014.
Forbes Top 7 of the 100 Most Successful Women in 2014:
1. Angela Merkel – Leader, politician, and the first woman Chancellor of Germany since 2005. Forbes highlights Merkel as the world's most powerful woman for past nine years, surpassing Germany's male-dominated ranks in politics.
2. Janet Louise Yellen – First woman to hold the position as Chair of the Federal Reserves Board of Governors. Yellen comments on unemployment mentioning how much is dependent on the Federal Reserve’s job performance. Yellen strives to maximize job opportunities for the American people.
3. Melinda Gates – Founder and leader of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, philanthropist, and wife of Bill Gates.
4. Dilma Rousseff – Current President of Brazil, and the first woman to hold Presidential office in her country. Rousseff has one child and is currently divorced.
5. Christine Lagarde – French single mother of two, and advocate for women in the workforce. Lagarde is the first woman to hold Manager Director position for the International Monetary Fund.
6. Hillary Clinton –First lady to become U.S. Senator and presidential candidate. As documented in Forbes, “She hasn't even announced a presidential bid and already she has the Ready for Hillary super PAC (raising $1.7 million in Q1 2014 alone) and her opposition is heating up in equal measure. There is no denying that Hillary is a fierce political force to be reckoned with.”
7. Mary Barra – First female Chief Executive Officer of General Motors (GM). Barra is married and has two children. As noted in Forbes, “Her leadership, she said, will bring about a "new GM" able to regain customer trust. Too soon to call, but the Detroit automaker announced sales were up 7% in April year-over-year. “
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” - Marissa Mayer (Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo).