Trainer: Women continue to encounter the ‘glass ceiling’
October 9, 2006
When Roz Parry, the first woman news anchor in northern Nevada, joined with other women in the early 1970s to lobby for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Nevada, she was confident the “glass ceiling” in management suites soon would disappear.
Thirty-five years later, Parry works as a consultant and trainer, and even today one of her most popular classes is designed to help women break into top management.
“It’s appalling and disappointing,” says Parry. “At today’s rate of growth, the number of women corporate officers won’t even reach the halfway mark with men until the year 2019.”
The reasons so few women hold top executive positions, both in Nevada and across the United States?
Federally funded research, Parry says, cites three possibilities:
* Women continue to be outside the loop of informal networks the “good-old boy networks” that create opportunities for promotion.
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* Few women in executive suites are available to serve as mentors for younger workers.
* Women have relatively few opportunities to gain the sorts of corporate visibility that leads to promotion.
On the other hand, Parry said researchers find women executives are particularly skillful at developing and selling a vision from the bottom up in an organization, and they’re often skilled at anticipating change and re-inventing an organization.
That skill comes in handy, she says, as women executives often are assigned responsibility for organizations that are in trouble.
“They don’t get the opportunity unless someone else fails,” Parry says.
As she makes her way around the training circuit she next teaches her leadership for women class in Reno on Oct. 20 Parry emphasizes communication skills. But her focus is wider than mere verbal skills.
“If you present a confident image, your clients, co-workers and boss will view you as credible and successful,” she says.
Also important to women looking to break through the glass ceiling, Parry says, are building community partnerships through networking and mentoring, development of a unique personal management style and developing skills to handle stress and balance work with personal life.
(Parry’s Oct. 20 seminar is sponsored by the Nevada Small Business Development Center; for registration information, call the center at 784-1717.)