The Next Generation of Businesswomen
Bridge the gap: by mentoring, supporting, and lifting up the next generation of women leaders.
Management consultant, Marilyn Loden coined the phrase “glass ceiling” over 40 years ago as she detailed the many invisible walls keeping females from career advancement.
“I am referring to the biases that assume men are ‘born leaders,’ that working mothers are not committed to their careers, that women are too emotional, that sexual harassment is not a problem, and that there is no room on the executive floor for people who speak softly, have a high degree of emotional intelligence and favor participative leadership over autocratic management,” wrote Loden for the BBC.
While many strides have been made for women in the workplace, the glass ceiling hasn’t gone anywhere. For example, while women make up at least half of the corporate workplace, only 25.6 percent of corporate board seats are filled by women at 3,000 of America’s largest publicly held companies.
Many reasons for this disparity exist, and there are multiple ways to bridge the gap. One solution is for women in these leadership roles to support and mentor the next generation of upcoming businesswomen. How can women leaders build up other women and help remove the proverbial glass ceiling?
When it comes to pouring into the lives and careers of other women, the sky should be the limit, not the glass ceiling.
Formal Workplace Mentorship Programs
Beginning a formal mentorship program in your workplace is one way to help pave the way for upcoming women leaders. Mentorship programs don’t require hours of time or large budgets. They do require more experienced women pouring into the lives and careers of younger or less experienced than they are. Mentorship programs help give mentees the direction and confidence they need to pursue their career goals, paying no mind to the glass ceiling.
Internships Geared Toward Women and Other Diverse Candidates
Another idea is to start an internship program explicitly focused on recruiting women and diverse candidates, which can help them get their foot in the door. An internship can help attract these kinds of candidates, helping them garner the skills and knowledge necessary to accomplish their next steps — whether those steps include a formal position with your organization, a position elsewhere, or more education. Internships give women and other minorities opportunities they might not have had otherwise.
Informal Mentorship and Community Networking
Building up and investing in other women doesn’t just have to happen in the workplace. It can, and should occur, in the community too. Consider joining local networking organizations related to your industry or interests. Within these organizations, you have the potential and opportunities to:
- Speak with other women who are just getting started in their careers
- Provide social, emotional, and career support to like-minded women
- Offer to speak to various groups
- Serve on panels
- Find some women you want to take under your wing and provide 1:1 mentorship
When it comes to pouring into the lives and careers of other women, the sky should be the limit, not the glass ceiling. Using this drive and other ways to invest in other women will benefit you, aspiring women leaders, and all women in the workplace now and long into the future.
In practice for 30 years, April D. Jones is the founder and CEO of the Jones Law Firm, PC. Leading a powerhouse team of practitioners that have helped thousands of families and individuals through high-level family law legal services, Jones was recently awarded the Individual Inclusiveness@Work award by The Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI).
Jones leads the Sam Cary Bar Association in a second term as President (2005 and 2021). She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Jones is a member of the California State and Colorado State Bars and is a 2021 recipient of the Denver Business Journal “Outstanding Women in Business Award.”