Fast forward many years later, I have been in many positions in my career. I have been given many tasks and responsibilities but there has always been that 'barrier' which I was never really keen to discuss whenever fellow female colleagues complain about the somewhat biased treatment they receive when it comes to their career advancement.
Until quite recently when I encountered some situation at work where, there I was, working my butt off whilst expecting for a position I was promised for which was then given to another new colleague. A male colleague to be more precise.
When asked - I was told that I lack ambition. WRONG! I was and am always an ambitious person. What I lack was SUPPORT from my bosses. I was an employee, a mother and a wife. Me not able to spend after-office-hours 'networking' with colleagues and bosses does not define my inefficiency.
What happened forced me into making the decision to leave the workforce and be an entrepreneur so I can work for myself and continue to thrive however high I want to without a need to prove myself to a team of male chauvinists. Sadly, this should not happen at the first place. Because if all powerful and ambitious women are treated with such inequality, they will all start their own businesses, like this one here - so what will happen to the workforce development?
Our culture depicts women as warm, nurturing and communal. While leaders should be competitive, assertive and decisive. Automatically, women are defined to be non-leader material. WRONG!
When a woman we know is talented, ambitious and powerful - she's an oxymoron! But if she is a man, she's a very successful leader.
There are real barriers for women at work that we should address. But that's not the only point that matters. We have a real work to do to accelerate women's advancement. It doesn't end with a gender bias awareness campaign, an anti-discrimination cause won't do much help too - because accelerating women's advancement is deep, ongoing and transformational work.
For us women to make progress - ONE we need to really learn to co-exist in the ecosystem and we MUST empower each other, TWO women need to go through the same fundamental shifts of heart, mind and behaviour we want for the system as a whole and THREE, women need to engage in ongoing dialogue to surface hidden aspects of the culture we don't want. Don't just stay at home and complain! Let's do this together!