I knew I wanted to be a leader…
When I first came to Longwood University and attended the New Student Leadership Program, it sparked a fire in my soul to continue to develop myself as a leader. As I have grown over the past three years at Longwood, I have been giving so many opportunities to refine my leadership skills and use it to help others develop their skills. I have become a part of different executive councils, I have attended countless conferences, and I have worked with many Longwood students on developing new programs for leadership. Why do I mention this? Because of these countless experiences it has lead me to pursue a future career working on Capitol Hill. I see myself as a contributor to this country, and the public and helping them. I see myself helping constituents develop legislation that will create more opportunities for those who need help like education reform. I see myself creating a legacy in this country, whether that be small or large. So the question is, will my gender stop me from achieving those dreams?
Am I close to hitting the glass ceiling now?
History has shown us that women have always been told you can get a job and start a career, but there is a limit to how far you can go in that career. For example, women who became secretaries, there is no advancement in that career. These are usually called “pink collar jobs”, jobs that require skills that women are associated with having. Such as, organizing, counseling, assisting and so forth. It’s not like other jobs such as Sales Associate where someone might have the opportunity to climb up to assistant manager and then eventually manager. These “pink collar” jobs were very common in the 1960’s and we can see that in shows like “The Mad Men”. Slate an online news source discussed Mad Men and the stereotypes that were filmed in the show. Take Peggy Olson, one of the main characters, for example, Peggy was hired to be a secretary. Although she was able to create and contribute to the creativity on advertisements, the men in the workplace consistently reminded her that her place is as a secretary. This show not only dictates the stereotypes that women were placed under, but the sexual discrimination that many women went through. So how have we learn to define this type of sexual discrimination in the workplace?
We have been able to define it as the “Glass Ceiling and Walls” effect, which means that there is barrier created to the advancement of women and minorities, as well. Not only that but according to “Gendered Lives” by Julia T Wood, “The term glass walls is a metaphor for sex segregation on the job.“. Both of these terms have lead many women to not have the ability to achieve their career goals, and have limited not only their abilities, but their happiness. Of course now as we have reached the 21st century, women are now advancing into careers such as STEM research, Military combat, and politics. But has the glass ceiling and walls just simply disappeared or has it just risen enough to make women and minorities feel like the glass wall and ceiling are gone?
The Uncomfortable Truth
I recently came across an article that spoke about republican women working on The Hill. This article was the main reason I decided to write my blog on this topic of the “Glass Ceiling/Wall” effect. Recently Politico, a conservative news source, wrote about the glass ceiling on Capitol Hill being shatter proof. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers has discovered herself that the glass ceiling effect is very real, and has personally impacted her growth as a republican on Capitol Hill. Rep. McMorris is currently the House Republican Conference Chair. But for her she would like to fill in one of the top 3 leadership spots, Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, or Whip. Many republican’s stated that The Hill is still a very male dominated industry. Some republicans state that only recently have republican women been elected into office and haven’t risen into a seniority position yet. My argument to this is, women like Rep. Cathy McMorris has been working on Capitol Hill for 20+ years. Does that not qualify her for a seniority position?
So what now?
With that being said, what can we do now? What we can do is to to start recreating the workplace, changing the way we hire, not based on sex or race, but merit. Although there are equal opportunity laws, it is our job to reinforce this. Looking at jobs as not masculine run jobs, but jobs that anyone can have and can do well in. We, as millennials, will come across challenges, but if we redefine the workplace , ourselves and the future will work in institutions where it’s okay to limit someones success based on sex and race. Let’s start the wave of change in the workplace.