Although we have made tremendous progress in the fight against gender and wage equality in recent years, the odds are still stacked against professional women working to become recognized leaders. The notorious glass ceiling, defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as “invisible — but impenetrable — barrier(s) between women and the executive suite, preventing them from reaching the highest levels of the business world regardless of their accomplishments and merits,” promotes discriminatory norms that force women to work twice as hard to get ahead in a male-dominated workplace.

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These barriers can not only damage a woman’s confidence, but also prevent them from climbing to the top of workplace hierarchies and from finding their footing in leadership roles. For women striving for high-level success in male-dominated fields, six strategies can help break barriers and overcome such challenges. 

Whitney Yates-Woods is Dealer Principal of family-owned Yates Buick GMC in Goodyear.

Join the Men’s Table

Take a note from the men’s playbook and become your own champion. Don’t be afraid to make your presence known by speaking out in meetings, sharing your accomplishments and being vocal about career advancement.

Turn Anxiety into Excitement

Next time you approach a high-stakes situation such as a presentation to your boss, rather than attempting to calm yourself down, try reframing your nervous energy as excitement. Doing so will help reduce anxiety while also improving performance and adding a boost of confidence.

Make Your Own Rules

Most successful women are risk-takers who aren’t afraid to showcase their talents and ask for what they’re worth. Instead of shrinking to who you believe you’re expected to be, reflect on what’s important to you, what you desire to attain, and the path you’ll take to get there.

Work Your Network

Making connections is essential for anyone looking to advance in their career. Take time to network with other professional women, join female leadership programs, attend networking events and mentorship opportunities, and consult your senior executives for guidance on how to get ahead. Don’t be afraid to reach out and lend a helping hand to other women.

Do Your Research

Before accepting a position, research the organization to see if it is ruled by a glass ceiling. Look for diversity in management, open communication with senior leaders, sexist language used and accepted within the organization, and long-term resistance to change. If you are unsure, you can also consult a previous employee before making a decision.

Dream Big

Always remember to shoot for the stars. Just because there are more barriers for women does not mean that it is not worth it to dream big and set out to achieve your goals. Be ambitious and have faith in yourself and your talents. You are as deserving as anyone of happiness and success.

While obstacles are inevitable for ambitious women on their journey to workplace success, such guidelines can ensure a swifter climb up the corporate ladder. In daring to speak up, nurture connections, and have the courage to bet on themselves, women can and will achieve their professional goals and put their own unique dent into the glass ceiling.


Author: Whitney Yates-Woods is Dealer Principal of family-owned Yates Buick GMC in Goodyear. Yates Buick GMC has been serving the Phoenix metropolitan area for more than 37 years. To see our current inventory or to schedule a maintenance appointment, visit