Each March, we celebrate Women’s History Month in the U.S. It began as a week celebration in 1981 and then transitioned to a month in 1987. The month is meant to recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. In honor of the month and this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Inspiring Inclusion,” Blue Yonder associate Celeste White shares her thoughts on how we can all help to chip away at the glass ladder that holds so many women down.

One persistent barrier to progress remains the glass ladder theory. While the glass ceiling focuses on the top, that invisible barrier preventing women from reaching the highest levels of an organization, and the difficulty for women to break through to executive roles, despite qualifications and achievements.

The glass ladder encompasses the entire career journey. Women often navigate steeper, more precarious trajectories than men when climbing the corporate ladder.

Visibility, mentorship, and sponsorship opportunities disproportionately favor men, leading to fewer women reaching leadership positions.

However, we can start to chip away at the glass ladder one rung at a time! Here are some steps I plan to take, and encourage you to consider as well:

Start at Home, Lead by Example:

  • Inspire my daughters: Continue open discussions about gender equality and dismantle limiting stereotypes. Expose them to diverse role models who challenge traditional notions of what women can achieve. Encourage them to advocate for themselves in the classroom on the field and in the workplace and not take less than they deserve.
  • Mentorship and Sponsorship: Offer to become a mentor for women within Blue Yonder and in my wider LinkedIn community, actively advocating for women’s professional development and advancement. Connect them with senior leaders and champion their visibility.

Within the Organization:

  • Advocate for Equity in Promotions: Suggest the talent teams analyze promotion data to identify potential biases and champion meritocratic advancement based on performance and potential, not gender.
  • Amplify Women’s Voices: Actively involve women in key decision-making processes and ensure their perspectives are heard and valued. Showcase their expertise at industry events and conferences.
  • Partner with Internal Advocates: Encourage others to collaborate with employee resource groups and diversity & inclusion champions to create targeted initiatives that support women’s leadership development.

Expanding Our Ecosystem:

  • Engage Industry Partners: Champion diversity and inclusion within our supply chain partnerships. Encourage open dialogue and collaborative efforts to address women’s issues in the industry across the ecosystem during conferences and events.
  • Support External Changemakers: Partner with organizations that empower women in the technology industry, offering resources, mentorship, and sponsorship opportunities.

By taking these steps, we can collectively #InspireInclusion and build a more equitable and empowering environment for all women. Remember, true leadership extends beyond individual success; it’s about paving the way for others to rise and shatter the glass ladder together. I encourage you to join me in making this International Women’s Day – and Women’s History Month – a catalyst for lasting change.