Celebrate Progress

We all have obstacles to overcome.  Even though the glass ceiling is not as impenetrable as it was in earlier decades,

Tiger in High Heels

International Innovator of the Year

women still have to prove their intelligence, high work ethic and innovative ideas in order to be regarded as qualified for a major leadership role.  The old quote by Theodore Reik still holds true, “In our civilization, men are afraid that they will not be men enough and women are afraid that they might be considered only women.”

No, this is not gender bashing, it is simply reality.


Glass Ceiling


The term “glass ceiling” was coined in the 1970s.  The belief was that women had to outperform a man in order to get ahead.  We have made remarkable strides in the last 40 years.


What do I know about a glass ceiling?  You know me now as a successful entrepreneur but in 1972 in Detroit, MI, it was a different story.  Working in a Goodyear Tire dealership as a very feminine lady was a daily challenge.


One day the district manager came into my office.  After I resumed sitting at my desk, he remained standing and clearly stared down at me.  I finally said, “Excuse me but my face is up here.”  With a grin, he replied, “I want to be certain you knew I noticed.”  Yes, I was wearing a sweater but it was certainly not a low neckline.  The inference was obvious that I was to be regarded more as female than as an executive.


It took years of repeated incidents to finally prove I was in the position due to capability rather than gender-based favors.  Even then the Motor City was not ready for a female to be treated as an equal in such a male-dominated industry.  No matter how capably the job was performed, I was still regarded as only a woman.


No matter how many times the top of my curls bumped the glass ceiling, it did not crack.  If I had acted, dressed or spoke like one of the guys, all authority would have been out the window.  At least they eventually acted and spoke with respect, if not with acceptance of my authority and position.


History – Female Pioneers


Those who came before paved the way.  These are a few of many known and unknown.


Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was the first woman in the United States to earn a college degree.  She organized the first national women’s rights convention.


Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) has her picture on an American coin for her efforts in giving women the right to vote.


Clara Barton (1821-1910) founded the American Red Cross.


Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995) in 1964 was the first woman to be nominated for President of the United States by a major party


Sandra Day O’Connor (1930 – ) was the first woman to serve as a justice on the US Supreme court.


Sally K. Ride (1951 –  ) was the first American woman in space.


Sarah Palin (1964 – ) was governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party in the 2008 presidential campaign.  She is a published author, mother of five and a groundbreaker for women in politics.


Celebrate Progress


There are now 20 female CEO’s at the helm of America’s largest companies.  It is only four percent, but it is still a noteworthy record.  IBM led the charge with Ginni Rometty.  Wal-Mart followed with Rosalind Brewer, not only the first female but the first African-American as well.


There are still obstacles to overcome.  It is important to celebrate the progress women have made in previous decades to bring us to this point.


Who knows when it will happen, but we will have a woman President of the United States.

Comments are closed.

To Learn More About the
Tiger In High Heels

- Professional Speaking & Coaching
Fill Out the Form Below:

Network with Me
RSS Home Twitter Home Facebook Home LinkedIn Home YouTube Home
”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm