Female Exploitation Part 1: The Glass Ceiling

October 16, 2011

As Featured On EzineArticles

Mandy is a career-minded, driven, intelligent & ambitious young woman, in her late twenties. She’s highly educated, hard-working & tenacious. Her track record is intimidating: She consistently outperforms her older colleagues employed longer than her & isn’t afraid to boldly be the best. Not easy to beat as she rarely takes no for an answer. She’s turns over tens of millions for her company annually & jumps to every new challenge. She’s a go-getter. She’s vying for the top. She’s a flea in an empty, lid-covered glass.

In her eight years of working for a major blue-chip organization listed in the top 20 of Fortune 500 companies, she’s trained over 40 interns & junior staff, retained 2 of them for her own team, been instrumental to the subsequent impressive performances of 30 of them & has ensured a fast track promotional program for one of the them to join the handful of business intelligence analysts, in the private equities wing of the multinational group. She oversees a few billions in customized investment vehicles for an aristocrat dynasty in Northern Europe. Over the past four years, she has grown their profit by 35%. She’s  the dog’s bollocks. If you gave her a buck to invest, she would ask you in what denominations you would want to receive the five-thousand-fold increase the week after. She is top of her league & everybody knows it. Mandy is the business.

For the past four years, she’s been a capacity building mill. Batch after batch of newbie, ivy league college grads, she’s been training, to the enormous growth/performance of her division. When the in-house, elite training program started, she was picked to run it, from a short list of three: 2 men & herself. She didn’t have to do much to get the opportunity in the first place; she had been doing way too much ever since she started to show the firm she was nothing less than perfect to become the next CEO. And much to the Board’s dislike. She trains young professionals with heart, complete devotion & earns a healthy bonus from every training installment, that grows the happiness of her euphoric bank account. Mandy is eight months away from turning 30. She’s already made enough money to retire into a quiet, suburban lifestyle for the rest of her life. But she is a wealthy slave. As powerhouse as she is to the company, she has no power, just enormous capabilities. And they’re driving her mad!

Mandy represents a movement, a dangerous movement to the senior technocrat custodians of Old Money. Wherever the Board works, they implement their traditions/culture underpinning their values/beliefs of work & reward, with them. If they go into e.g. mining, the company will be built in a hierarchical order that complements the way they lead businesses: totalitarian, colonialist, chauvinistic & heartless. The top one percent of Mandy’s multinational group are nonetheless well attuned to our time & perform to pinnacle standards every year. Even when they have a bad year & miss their profit margin, they’re still in the top 10 of best industry earners. Mandy is denied her right to take part in that; to excel in an extremely high level of management, leading & performing, because for the past three years, 20% of the total number of trainees she’s developed have been placed on promotional paths, that lead to that echelon – and they’re all men.

Mandy’s vexed! She’s realized that she’s reached the point where she’s about as good as she’ll ever get. And that’s for the rest of her career. It doesn’t matter if she gradually notices more workers rising to the top whom she she knows aren’t up to her caliber; they fit the profile & as far Mandy is concerned, from the Board’s perspective, she’s payed her dues & is given her reward: A fat paycheck, time & time again – just no breakthrough! Indignation; it’s happens to the most of us. It happens to the best of us. It happens to women! From the outside looking in, Mandy hasn’t got much to complain about. She owns a new S5, a lush 2-bedroom apartment, has the looks to get any man she wants but is waiting to fall in love & can afford a Black Card (if she only eats & works for the rest of her life). She does better than most & that’s not just women! So, what could she possibly be missing? Isn’t money everything? In a retail, consumerist world, yes! Just not in the world of movers & shakers, who have the real power to effect things & set standards. Isn’t that what we’re all about? To blossom in our full potential? And money by itself doesn’t buy that. That’s why top athletes leave inflated contracts, in the hunt for that missing championship medal they haven’t earned yet. That’s why actors choose ground-breaking roles over blockbusters because they’re looking for that accomplishments (the really good ones anyway). That’s why Wall Street brokers quit to open small restaurants & Mandy is getting partial-psychological, postmortem blues with her depression about the invisible atrocity that’s preventing her from soaring any higher: The Glass Ceiling!

The above writing is a work of fiction, based on real issues, to paint a picture of the concealed extent, to which women are ruthlessly exploited in the ‘modern’ day. Any resemblance of the lead character to any person living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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