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3 Barriers Women Experience to Career Progression

2 min read

Women earn less, promotions are few and far between and are evaluated differently during interviews and on the job. Females in leadership roles experience many challenges and often enough find it difficult to navigate office politics and work with the unconscious bias. Let’s identify a few barriers to career progression and how female employees can move passed them.

1. Not promoting yourself enough – Many women work on the assumption that if you’re a role model employee, uphold good work ethics and positively impact your environment that your efforts will be visible to the right parties. This is far from reality; part of your career progression would involve promoting your own efforts. So, for example if you work with data analytics and have automated a tedious report try inviting your director/boss to sit in during your presentation. Demonstrate how the automation of this report will now save the department/company a lot of time while using fewer resources and don’t forget to own your accomplishments.

2. Not ready for change – Employees in general operate on outdated thinking and obsolete strategies but expect phenomenal results. The 2020 workforce sees 5 generations working alongside each other, Digital age is co-related with more women on the rise to leadership roles. This is the ultimate change and key to progression for women in the workplace. With the help of a career/corporate coach identify the areas that need to be worked on (it might be soft skills, technical skills or people skills) and find ways to sharpen your tools. Change is good as this often leads to progression.

3. Not modelling success and progression – Dressing poorly, behaving badly, displaying poor work ethics and a negative attitude is not the model of success. If you are one of those female employees constantly bringing your colleagues down by indulging in office gossip or pettiness – it’s time for you to re-thin the image you’re projecting. When we harness the energy to move passed the very things holding us back only then do we become models of excellence.


Valerie Naidoo
Corporate Coach| Career counsellor| Moderator, Facilitator & Assessor

Valerie is recognised as a leading empowerment coach for women in South Africa and is the creator off “Powering up a new generation of women” a program that accelerates women in the workplace and beyond. She also sits as the chairperson for the “Synergy African women of Impact” forum and is an international multiple best selling author.

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