Office Politics 101: Promotions may be denied because I’m a woman

A: The so-called “glass ceiling” is certainly found in most companies.

Q: I’ve been a junior manager for some time and have been unsuccessful in my applications for more senior positions. I often think it is because I’m a woman. Some colleagues feel I should demand to be treated more fairly. Your suggestions?

A: The so-called “glass ceiling”, which refers to the subtle discrimination against people advancing within an organization — in this case, women — is certainly found in most companies.

In fact, although many progressive companies and governmental agencies have made significant efforts to improve the opportunities for women (and visible minorities), the elimination or reduction of barriers seems to be moving at a sluggish pace.

The unfortunate reality of the situation is something we need to acknowledge. With time, perhaps, the circumstances will change as women move more into executive positions with the responsibilities and compensation to match. Advances will almost certainly not happen rapidly.

While this may sound rather discouraging, it is also prudent not to be concerned with a pervasive condition that won’t be resolved through your individual frustrations.

Your personal situation, however, may be something that can be addressed.

Approach the apparent discrimination with an open mind and don’t see yourself as a victim.

It is entirely possible, of course, that you could have been unsuccessful in your applications because others candidates — males, I presume ‚ were superior with better qualifications, experience and education.

Perhaps you were less prepared for your interviews and other applicants may have presented an image that was more authoritative and professional.

In any case, at this point you can’t be sure why you haven’t been promoted. Co-workers are suggesting you “demand to be treated more fairly”; in my view, that is ill-advised and will almost certainly create tension which could further diminish your opportunities for advancement.

If you haven’t already done so, arrange to meet with your supervisor confidentially in her office; working from prepared notes, respectfully request to know the reasons for your lack of career mobility.

Listen carefully and respond logically and calmly. Do not argue or whine.  Should she recommend you take a program of study to further your management skills, for example, accept her advice.

If you plan to remain with this company — and generally like the atmosphere — you’ll need to be seen as a positive force. After all, when you eventually receive a well-deserved promotion, you want to be chosen because you are simply the best person for the job!

 

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simongibson@shaw.ca

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni seeking someone to lease historic train station

Port Alberni city council to draft a request for expressions of interest

LOOK BACK: The first play produced in ‘New Alberni’

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre re-opens to the public

Alberni arts council will be holding a ‘mystery bag of books’ fundraiser

ALBERNI GOLF: Men’s club hosts four-man waltz

Dave Mann, Steve Pointon, Bill Barrett and Phil Anker took the top spot in the event

Missing ‘Where is my Dad?’ sign returned in Port Alberni

Good Samaritan finds Lisa Petterson’s stolen sign, returns it to Merville woman

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Feds fund safe drug supply pilot program for Cowichan

The opioid overdose crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health crises

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

Thousands of dollars in stolen rice found in B.C. warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

Most Read