We have all heard about the glass ceiling.
Whether you believe it exists or not, you have heard about it. For those unfamiliar with the term, the glass ceiling is defined as an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities.
Which literally means you can go only so far in a company or profession. Your opportunities are not unlimited. Your potential is not “through the roof” because there is a glass ceiling on that roof, not easily seen but there.
For women there is another glass item in their history. Cinderella’s glass slipper. The glass ceiling limits upward movement. A glass slipper limits movement. Could Cinderella’s glass slippers exist without shattering? Think about how limiting a glass shoe would be for a woman. A mechanical engineer studied the concept of a glass slipper. Very challenging he concluded for a glass slipper to both bear weight and provide the flexibility a shoe needs to provide the wearer.
When the Prince produces the glass slipper for Cinderella to slide her perfect foot into for a perfect fit, we think of it as a gallant act.
Yet he was putting on her foot a shoe that would greatly limit her ability to move. The upside perhaps is that she can’t do chores. The downside is that she can’t do much.
IT’S NOT JUST Cinderella’s Shoe that is Important to Women
I bring this up because women’s shoes are still a source of discussion in the workplace as well as in fairy tales. Just ask Sheryl Sandberg. As COO of Facebook she is as iconic to Facebook in her way as Zuckerberg is in his way. Yet he is known for wearing t-shirts and hoodies and she is known for wearing stiletto’s in a business very casual atmosphere.
Which just goes to prove that there is not equality in business. Picture their two closets, grey hoodies and red stilettos. Some might say it is her choice. To a degree it is her choice. All aspects of communication are audience driven rather than speaker driven. Audiences react differently to a woman in heels rather than flats. I know I feel differently in heels rather than flats.
A couple of years ago I broke a bone in my foot.
I had to speak at a company retreat so I crammed my foot into a flat shoe rather than that oh so attractive boot. It truly was cruel and unusual punishment for me to speak, to feel and be perceived as empowered, in flat shoes.
Some could say the author of LEAN IN, chooses to wear the stilettos, which may be today’s version of the glass slipper. I say she knows what she needs to wear to look successful and feel effective. She is a billionaire and listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world. I would think she could wear Nike’s if she wanted to, as Steven Spielberg did when he gave the commencement address at Harvard.
But apparently she doesn’t want to! She wants to go clickity click through the glass ceiling as the powerful person that she is in her 2016 version of the glass slipper.
Leslie is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire. Read more posts by Leslie Ungar here.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings of the NYC based PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR. Annie Jennings PR specializes in marketing books for getting authors booked on radio talk show interviews, TV shows in major online and in high circulation magazines and newspapers. Annie also works with speaker and experts to build up powerful platforms of credibility and influence.