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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Women in the Workforce

Updated: May 27, 2020

Women are more than half the population and generally represent an even greater percentage of our clients.  It is important that we are always aware of how best to be of service to them. ~ David M. Reile, Ph.D.

FOCUS ON: Helping Women Break the Glass Ceiling

Yes, the glass ceiling still exists for women in the workplace. Recent research suggests that even today there are invisible roadblocks to women moving into the upper echelons of the corporate world. How can career development professionals help shatter these barriers for female clients? Discuss options such as joining a professional organization, volunteering at events that allow access to senior level executives, finding a sponsor (i.e., a more aggressive mentor), and learn how to brag. It is equally important to work out a strategic plan for maintaining marketability when a woman decides to temporarily move out of the workforce. Read: Helping Females Overcome Glass Barriers to Advancement

TOP TEN: Traits of Women Business Leaders

While just 4% of CEO spots at Fortune 500 companies are filled with women today, this number is expected to improve in the near future as women move into more leadership positions. What does it take for a woman to sit on a corporate board or attend a number one MBA school? The top ten list may surprise you – hint: don’t plan, don’t network, and get help are just a few of the traits. Read the full list and watch for these traits in your female clients. Then help them be aware of what is needed to succeed at leadership levels. (By the way, these tips work for men, too, so gender equity is a real possibility). Traits of Women Business Leaders – It’s Not What You Think.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Addressing the Salary Gap with Clients

Individuals, employers, and government each have important roles to play in solving the pay gap problem. Career development professionals who work with these groups can advocate for action to close the gap (currently at 18% according to a recent study by the American Association of University Women). What needs to happen in the counselor’s office? Talk to female clients about typical starting salaries before they make career decisions and regularly offer salary negotiation seminars. Emphasize skills assessment in terms of worth in the labor market. Explore occupations represented by unions and the effects on salary. Read more suggestions here in this:Washington Post article.

YOUR LIBRARY: Recommended Readings for Clients***

No career development professional can read every book or recommend the hottest resource at the drop of a hat. However, they can share what they know, even if it just covers a select area. Here is one to get your list of recommendations started: Embracing the Real World: The Black Women’s Guide to Life After College, by Chaz Kyser — a must read for any young Black woman who is serious about moving forward in her career. Here’s more about the author and book: Black Authors Network Community Blog“.

***Readers, please submit your short recommendations to Career Insights by emailing one of the editors. The goal is to provide options to clients who may benefit from additional knowledge or assistance outside of the consulting sessions.


“Who can measure the advantages that would result if the magnificent abilities of these women could be devoted to the needs of government, society and home, instead of being consumed in the struggle to obtain their birthright of individual freedom? Until this be gained we can never know, we cannot even prophesy the capacity and power of women for the uplifting of humanity.” - Susan B. Anthony
“I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.” - Harry Truman


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