100 Women: Your ideas on how to smash the glass ceiling

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Media caption,

Are women hitting a glass ceiling, or are they also climbing a broken ladder?

As part of this year's 100 Women Challenge, you have been sharing your ideas for smashing the glass ceiling.

This week, Nasa engineer and former 100 Women list entry Evelyn Miralles has chosen some of the ideas to feature.

"The seven women I have selected talk about the need to 'educate' men about inequality in the work force and find strong female role models," she says.

"They also want more flexible work environments that will empower female employees."

1) 'Boys need to be taught about equality' - Anna, Philippines

In our country, gender biases are still the norm. The pressure for women to do it all while working, and men to just work is ridiculous.

A lot of insensitive sexual comments about women are still discussed in boardrooms as jokes and I have to get the guys to stop. Or reverse it towards them...

It's a culture that can only be sorted through education at a young age. Boys need to be taught about equality and girls need to know they can be more than mothers or homemakers.

The two leading reasons why women quit their jobs are to look after family, and unwarranted sexual harassment. But we're changing that.

Especially in the top levels, we educate our men about the bigger picture. When women succeed, more people benefit.

What is 100 Women?

BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year. In 2017, we're challenging them to tackle four of the biggest problems facing women today - the glass ceiling, female illiteracy, harassment in public spaces and sexism in sport.

With your help, they'll be coming up with real-life solutions and we want you to get involved with your ideas. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use #100Women

2) 'Stop focusing solely on the benefits to women' - Natalie, UK and the Netherlands

In order to demolish the glass ceiling once and for all we need to stop thinking about it as a female issue, stop focusing solely on the benefits to women and stop communicating it solely with a female voice.

Achieving true gender equality in the workplace will benefit everyone. It will allow businesses to thrive through diversity and people to be able to focus on their strengths and seek help for their weaknesses as individuals.

In order to do this we need more men to join the conversation (just as Andy Murray has done within the sporting world). This will turn it into a conversation in which people of all genders will speak out about how unacceptable this is as a state of play in 2017.

As a female business owner I have learned more in the past two years about how to counteract being ignored, interrupted or patronised within the working arena and would personally welcome more male spokespeople into the conversation.

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Lea and Sasha are starting on their professional journey and are already battle-scarred

3) 'Set the tone at the top' - Amanda, US

Shattering the glass ceiling requires a combination of:

- transparency (Salesforce set a precedent here with other tech companies following suit)

- providing flexible working environments for employees to manage responsibilities (Australia's government "All roles flex" as a default)

- setting the tone at the top and creating CEO champions for change (both Australia and New Zealand have diversity initiatives designed to raise awareness and collective action)

- widely disseminating the business case for equal pay tied to performance metrics (more motivated and diverse management teams are good for business, and there is a multiplier effect of true equality and meritocracy)

4) 'Young female academics should mentor men' - Katarzyna, Switzerland

How about establishing a mentoring program linking young female academics to older male academics?

We can change the existing direction of mentoring from female (mentee) - male (mentor), to female being a mentor and male becoming a mentee learning how to "stand in the shoes" of a female in academia.

Image caption,
Evelyn Miralles, who leads a virtual reality team at Nasa, was one of the BBC 100 Women in 2016

5) 'No more breakfast networking events and meetings' - Dara, Ireland

I am a lone parent of two children (now teenagers) and the MD of a successful TV commercial production company.

As a mother, and particularly as a lone parent, the single most family-unfriendly business practice is the breakfast meeting/breakfast networking event.

Unless you have live-in childcare, which most don't, it is pretty impossible to get a babysitter at 6am so you can go networking/to a meeting.

Childcare during normal working hours or into the evening is much more feasible than at the crack of dawn.

It may seem like a small thing but consider how much networking is done at these type of events. Networks build careers and provide the support and structure to break through glass ceilings.

Until commonly accepted family-unfriendly work practices are challenged, women will continue to be more disadvantaged in the workplace.

6) 'Provide flexibility for working mothers' - Kwasi, Ghana

I believe one way the glass ceiling can be broken is to make work environments flexible for working mothers and that is what an architectural firm in Accra [Ghana's capital] has been doing.

The firm was started by Nana Akua Birmeh, who left her previous job because she felt it was not going to "accommodate motherhood". So when she started her firm, she made sure women there would not feel such discomforts.

At the firm, women can bring their children to work and nannies are welcomed with open arms and this can be a model that can be implemented across the world.

7) 'Find out why men are intimidated by powerful women' - Cynthia, US

I'm interested in doing a survey gaining insight and formation from conscious, willing men to see if or why they (or other men) may be intimidated by a women's power.

It's my best guess at why many times men work to manipulate, control and oppress women. This could be helpful in relation to "the glass ceiling".