It has been many decades since the concept of the Glass Ceiling was first put forward in the U.S. and since that time there has been a highly publicized and often very structured plans put in place by organizations to attempt to allow Caucasian women and minority men to crack that barrier. Yes, you read that correctly: I did say Caucasian women and minority men.
However, when you are an Asian minority woman that glass ceiling…..well that can become a solid concrete ceiling without you even realizing it. At first it’s amusing in a bizarre sort of way….you walk into a room, or see senior management in public, or you’re in casual clothes at an event and you are simply ignored….no WAIT…not ignored on purpose…..they just don’t SEE you!! This when just the day before you were in a meeting with these same guys! In everyday dealings, (when they do know you are present!), if such a female is confident or is forthright and not afraid to express her opinion then more often than not it is viewed as “abrasive” and “surprising” and met with a somewhat condescending reaction where in corporate culture those same traits are viewed as a clear display of leadership potential.
It took me a decade before I finally “got it”. There is an age old adage that many male leaders like to see a mirror image of sorts in front of them and when there is mentoring to be had the same principle holds true. Some rare exceptions to that do exist, but if a research study were performed I absolutely believe the results would support my thesis which , by the way, is not a theory but a fact of life…..I have experienced the “Concrete Ceiling” first hand and it is frustrating and angers me no end. But I am not going to change who I am or the pride I have in myself and will hold my head high and make myself heard……..if for no other reason than for one very important one….I owe it to my daughters……and to my son…..each for a different reason but both equally important.