From the arrival of the #MeToo movement helping to combat sexual harassment in the workplace to the presence of many female role models who have managed to reach the top of their industries and clear the way for those women who are now rising, the landscape for professional women is actually in many ways clearer than it was before. This article will explore these themes, and look at why many women believe that now is the best time ever for them to enter business.
The #MeToo movement
Despite the fact that social values have made massive leaps and bounds in recent years, sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a scourge. The recent #MeToo movement has helped to combat this problem. While it began in the entertainment and media industries as accusations against popular figures such as Harvey Weinstein emerged, it has spread across sectors.
Of course, no social movement can ever hope to eradicate a problem entirely – at least not in the first few years of its existence – but thanks to the bravery of the women at the forefront of the #MeToo movement, more and more women are increasingly feeling comfortable reporting harassment in the workplace and getting something done about it. What’s more, there’s evidence to suggest that after #MeToo, people of all genders have begun to listen to the experiences of female colleagues much more closely, and treat their stories with the respect they deserve.
In order for society or a particular industry to change, there often needs to be a role model out there who can do a good job and confirm that if others like them assume positions of power, there won’t be any problems. Nowhere has this been more true than in the world of getting women into the workplace. As more and more women take positions at the top of organisation hierarchies, more and more men take notice and accept that women can do a good job – and more junior women begin to have the self-confidence to imitate their role model’s performance.
Luckily for women in the modern age, there have never been more famous women role models to follow. Whatever industry you’re in, you’re sure to find someone who can show you a clear path to the top of your career goals. Lady Barbara Judge is a great example of someone who has done well in the field of law, and her story contains many inspiring elements that will help you enhance your own career. Or say you work in tech: Sheryl Sandberg, who is the chief operating officer of Facebook, has had a stellar career working for everyone from politicians to Mark Zuckerberg. She has also been vocal about the work-life balance issues that many women face when they enter high-level professional careers.
For a woman who finds herself looking to climb the career ladder, though, there’s an even more strategic way to use the widespread presence of women in positions of business prestige. The advent of the internet means that right now is one of the best possible times to be in this position, as it means that there are websites, apps and other networks that help women meet each other and give each other the networking opportunities they need – so don’t hold back, and ensure that you find the mentor you need by participating in these opportunities.
Finally, a word about pay grades. With the gender pay gap in many countries around the world looking unhealthy at the moment, it’s common for women to be worried about whether or not they will be losing out compared to male counterparts when they enter work. However, more progress is being made on tackling this gap than ever: governments are beginning to require at least some types of organisation to publish their pay gap figures, for example, which is leading to positive progress being made.
Working in the business world as a woman still brings with it a wide variety of challenges. The gender pay gap has not yet been sorted out, for example, while the #MeToo movement hasn’t gone far enough. However, in the current era, many women are starting to find that issues such as inequality and sexual harassment are being properly challenged for the first time. With so many inspirational women now in positions of leadership in the private sector too, the role models are there – and it’s possible to surge ahead to even the very top positions no matter what your gender.