Breaking the Glass Sky: The Path to Equality and Success in Your Career Journey

Unlock the secrets to shattering the glass ceiling and propelling your career to new heights. Explore key barriers, gender disparities, and actionable strategies for women in leadership. Be the change you want to see—your limitless future awaits.

Lori Pritchard, BSW, MHS

9/3/20235 min read

You may have heard the term "glass ceiling" buzzing around, but what does it really mean? Imagine an invisible wall in the sky that keeps some people from rising higher, especially women. This isn't just unfair—it's a missed opportunity for everyone involved. Companies perform better when they have a balanced team of leaders, both men and women. While progress has been made—more women hold high-ranking jobs now than ever—we still have much to learn and change. So, let's dive deep into this glass ceiling and how we can break it for good.

As of June 2023, women hold 35% of senior leadership positions in the United States, compared to men, who represent 65% of all leadership positions. This is a slight increase from the 31% of women in senior management roles globally in 2021. Despite this progress, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions across various industries and sectors.

According to Just Capital, some companies with the highest percentage of women on their boards include:

  1. General Motors: With a board composed of 58% women.

  2. Citigroup: With a board composed of 50% women.

  3. Procter & Gamble: With a board composed of 50% women.

  4. Nielsen: With a board composed of 43% women.

  5. Merck: With a board composed of 43% women.

These companies have made significant strides in promoting gender diversity at the board level, with some even surpassing the 50% mark. However, it is essential to continue working towards achieving gender balance on corporate boards across various industries to ensure equal representation and the benefits that come with diverse perspectives.

What's the Hold-Up? The Invisible Barrier

Picture an obstacle course where everyone is racing towards the finish line. Now imagine an invisible wall that only some racers encounter. It's frustrating, right? That's the glass ceiling. It's like a force field that prevents women from progressing to higher job levels. However, the good news is that we are seeing cracks in this invisible barrier. Women are slowly but surely moving into leadership roles, and that's a victory worth celebrating!

The Missing Puzzle Pieces: Where Are the Women Leaders?

More women are making it to managerial positions and even the boardroom, but why are there still so few female CEOs? The issue isn't about competency; it's about opportunity. Research shows that companies with diverse leadership—including men and women—perform better. They make more money, have happier employees, and create products that resonate with more people. Gender equality isn't just about fairness; it's also about innovative business.

Behind the Curtain: The Hidden Factors

So, what's keeping the glass ceiling intact? There's no single answer. Sometimes, it's outdated beliefs about the roles men and women should play in the workforce. Other times, the lack of family-friendly policies makes it tough for women to juggle work and home life. The good news? Awareness is growing, and companies are implementing policies to create a level playing field for everyone. So, change is not just possible; it's already happening!

Four Actionable Tips to Smash Through the Glass Ceiling

Learn from the Trailblazers

Trailblazers are people who pave the way for others. They've been through the grind and can give you the playbook for success. Find a mentor, someone who can share their wisdom and experiences. Think of it as having a personal coach for your career.

According to NSLS, in 2023, three women who broke the glass ceiling were:

  1. Elaine Zhou: Elaine Zhou is the Chief Technology Officer at, where she leads the engineers responsible for running the platform seamlessly. She focuses on harnessing technology for positive human impact.

  2. Alissa Abdullah: Alissa Abdullah is the Deputy Chief Security Officer at Mastercard, where she is responsible for ensuring the security of the company's infrastructure and customer data. She is a prominent figure in the cybersecurity industry and has made significant contributions to the field.

  3. Yamini Rangan: Yamini Rangan is the CEO of HubSpot, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform. She has played a crucial role in the company's growth and success, making her a prominent figure in the technology industry.

    These women have made significant strides in their respective fields, breaking barriers and serving as role models for other women aspiring to succeed in male-dominated industries.

Speak Up: Advocate for Transparent Rules

One of the trickiest parts of breaking the glass ceiling is the lack of clear rules. How can you ever get there if you don't know what you need to get promoted? Advocate for a transparent system that clarifies what is required for career advancement. Companies like Salesforce lead the way in this area, making a big difference.

Form Your Squad: Build Affinity Groups

In numbers, there's strength. Affinity groups are spaces where women can support each other professionally and personally. It's like having a career study group where you can exchange tips, share opportunities, and provide emotional support.

Equip Yourself: Gain Relevant Skills

Knowledge is power. The more skilled you are, the harder it becomes for anyone to overlook you. Take courses, attend workshops, and keep learning. When you're undeniable, you're unstoppable.

The Bottom Line: Why This Matters So Much

Dismantling the glass ceiling is a double win. Sure, it's about fairness and equal opportunity, but it also makes excellent business sense. Studies have shown that companies with diverse leadership are more innovative and financially successful. So, breaking the glass ceiling isn't just a win for women—it's a win for everyone.


The glass ceiling is rigid, but it's not unbreakable. We can smash this invisible barrier by learning from successful women, advocating for transparent and fair rules, forming support networks, and continually improving our skills. The sky should be the limit for everyone, no matter their gender.

We all have a role in making our workplaces—and, by extension, our world—a more equitable place. Let's commit to making these changes so that the term "glass ceiling" will be a historical footnote one day. With concerted effort, what was once a ceiling can become a universe of opportunities for all.

Ready to make a difference not only in your own career but also in the landscape of professional opportunities for all women? The time for action is now. Don't let invisible barriers hinder your growth. Seek mentorship, demand clarity in career advancement, and nurture a community of aspiring women leaders around you. Remember, breaking the glass ceiling isn't just a personal victory; it's a leap toward equality and diversity in the workplace. Take that step forward today and transform your glass ceiling into your launchpad to the stars. Your future awaits, and it's dazzlingly limitless. Act now. Lead with purpose. Be the trailblazer you were born to be.

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