Through my work with ARCOMPANY’s Millennial Think Tank, my involvement in Albert’s List and now my work with YouTern, I regularly field questions from young women about everyday workplace issues. This experience has given me deep insight to the challenges women face as they begin to build their careers.
There is no doubt: even in 2015 – and although the symptoms of those cultures are more subtle than they were 25 years ago – it is common to find workplace cultures founded on traditional and paternalistic structures. Consider this from Pew Research’s 2013 study on Women’s Pay Gap:
- “…when they look ahead, they see roadblocks to their success. They believe that women are paid less than men for doing the same job. They think it’s easier for men to get top executive jobs than it is for women. And they assume that if and when they have children, it will be harder for them to advance in their careers.”
The survey goes on to say:
- “The survey finds that, in spite of the dramatic gains women have made in educational attainment and labor force participation in recent decades, young women view this as a man’s world—just as middle-aged and older women do. Roughly half of Millennial women (51%) and their older counterparts (55%) say society favors men over women; just 6% of both groups say it favors women over men.”
In addition, Harvard Business Review recently studied 25,000 of its MBA graduates and determined:
- “Among those graduates who are employed full-time, men are more likely to have direct reports, to hold profit-and-loss responsibility, and to be in senior management positions.”
- Whereas about 50% to 60% of men across the three generations told us they were “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experiences of meaningful work, professional accomplishments, opportunities for career growth, and compatibility of work and personal life, only 40% to 50% of women were similarly satisfied on the same dimensions.”
- “Only 11% are out of the workforce to care for children full-time. The figure is even lower (7%) for women of color.
And then there is this important data point:
- “Our survey data and other research suggest that when high-achieving, highly educated professional women leave their jobs after becoming mothers, only a small number do so because they prefer to devote themselves exclusively to motherhood; the vast majority leave reluctantly and as a last resort, because they find themselves in unfulfilling roles with dim prospects for advancement.”
And finally, here are the facts regarding management numbers:
- “In the business world, women make up 5% of Fortune 1000 CEOs, and only a handful of them are women of color.”
- Women hold fewer than 20% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, and their representation has increased only incrementally in recent years. Even fewer women of color (below 5%) occupy Fortune 500 board seats. “
So, in a world where women are 6% more likely to have finished their undergraduate degree than men (27% vs. 21%), what can we do to help young women overcome these barriers? How can we help them find fulfilling work? How can we enable them to achieve success?
Welcome to YouTern’s “Breaking Glass.”
Breaking Glass is a new kind of media channel on YouTern… a place where younger women can seek and receive advice from established women on how to recognize and navigate the obstacles they confront in the workplace. By helping young women understand and maneuver today’s work culture, we will make a positive impact on their career and lives.
Through our blog posts, monthly panel discussions, Facebook Group and Q&A sessions, if we help one young woman continue to believe in – and achieve – her career goals, we have succeeded.
These fine women careerists have volunteered to help answer your questions, offer their insight and provide invaluable been-there-done-that mentorship:
- Ayelet Brown | Author, speaker and blogger
- Shelly Kramer |Integrated Marketing Veteran, Speaker, CEO of V3B
- Deb Babbitt | A speaker, blogger and aerospace engineer (yes, a rocket scientist!)
- And more, including me!
Our first panel discussion will take place on September 23rd at 1pm EDT on Blab.
If you would like to contribute as a mentor, or tell your career story, we’d love to hear from you!
If you have a question – or if we can help you achieve your career goals – please get in touch. If anonymity is important, please let us know – we’ll make sure that happens. You can also join our closed Facebook Group and participate in our monthly on-air panel discussion (details coming soon).
We are very excited to begin this journey with you – and to helping many young women feel good about their work and careers. Together, we’ll make a difference.
About the Author: Amy McCloskey Tobin is a content strategist and creator with a background in B2B sales and manufacturing. She specializes in generational insights, the future of work, the remote workforce and how tech has changed the business world. Amy has worked with major online publications to develop content and content strategy. A devotee of social media, Amy believes firmly that great content begets social media community.