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Shattering glass, social norms in America

The APSU Women’s Club hosted a seminar where they invited President Alisa White to speak on how female professionals can break through the glass ceiling. The meeting took place Thursday at noon in the Morgan University Center.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “glass ceiling” as an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from upper-level positions.

The Women’s Club had White speak on this subject as someone who has reached high level positions in her field.

“We might all be women, but we are not all the same,” White said. “That is why I am nervous about speaking about issues such as this on a universal level as different strategies work differently for everyone.”

One of the first topics discussed was why there may pay discrepancies between men and women of similar positions.

“There is a perception that women will choose their family over a career so the feeling is that women will not take a position as seriously as a man would,” White said. “However, I think this is a fallacy, and may be an outdated line of thinking. I have seen just as many men choose their family over advancement as I have women.”

White then discussed the problems facing women who do reach leadership positions, and what qualities make a good leader.

“Another fallacy that women face is that we are too soft to be taken seriously has leaders, but at the same time if they come across as too strong people will start applying negative words to them,” White said. “In my opinion, never worry about if you have crossed a line and let others tell you if a line as been crossed; has that helps with the perception of a strong leader.”

White then talked about what various mentors have done for her over her career, and what advice they gave that worked for her.

“I may not like it, but for women wardrobe choice is something that we need to be concerned about in the professional world,” White said. “When you are in a situation where you may be giving a presentation you will want the clothes to fade away, and the only thing that is focused on is your content.”

White told of how she progressed to get where she is today, and gave advice on how to progress in your own field.

“Do not be afraid to ask if there is a way to progress in your position, and if that is not possible then find where you need to be to progress,” White said. “When progressing in the professional world it is not always a straight line up. If you watch someone climb a cliff they will find lateral footholds to progress upwards.”

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