Women’s experience in organizations and business has long been described as a glass ceiling-that invisible barrier to women’s advancement. Leadership scholars Alice Eagly and Linda Carli have suggested a different metaphor for understanding women and leadership: a labyrinth.
Women’s journey in their career is like a maze, marked with complexity and dynamic influences that impact that journey. The barriers that are holding women back are not as clear-cut as a “glass ceiling” would suggest. Certainly issues such as motherhood remain a challenge—the working mother certainly has many things to juggle—however there are many other issues that create a challenging labyrinth: structural obstacles within the companies where women work, a double-bind that persists for women trying to find the best leadership style to use when getting ahead, and the challenge of developing social capital, just to name a few.
Women’s journey through this labyrinth is a difficult one and is aided by a strong support network, a wiling mentor, and continued personal development. Think about your own journey—how have you navigated your labyrinth? What obstacles do you believe continue to impede your path? And what steps are you taking to find your way through? Having a good sense of the road you are traveling on is an important aspect to a successful journey.
For more on this topic read Through The Labyrinth: The truth about women and leadership by Eagly and Carli.