New Voices - Shattering the Glass Ceiling or Fastened to the Floor?

Summer 2010

CREW Network, an association for advancing the success of women in commercial real estate, recently published a white paper focusing on whether women are continuing to move into higher-level corporate positions, what factors are impacting women’s progress since the creation of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, and what women are doing to overcome the economic downturn and increasing globalization to enhance their success. The white paper, titled Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor, serves as a prelude to its 2010 benchmark study and includes information gathered from 225 different reports, statistical analysis, articles, etc.

The white paper’s results are unexpected and revealing while serving as a warning signal to all women in commercial real estate that an uphill battle remains. For example, CREW reports that, "Since 2006 – well before the impact of the economic meltdown was felt among commercial real estate businesses – women’s progress toward achieving parity in the corporate world has flat-lined and even regressed slightly." CREW advises women to be aware of reduced financial support for and attention to workplace diversity and to take proactive measures to preserve and boost their roles in today’s economic climate. The white paper shares common characteristics of those women who have succeeded, which include flexibility, proactively seeking mentoring, taking additional challenging responsibilities beyond their job descriptions, playing to their own strengths and acquiring additional training/certifications.

Despite evidence that having women decision-makers within a company is financially and resourcefully beneficial to the firm, CREW notes that senior-level and executive promotions for women have stagnated during the past several years, and the compensation gaps between men and women, mainly above middle management, remain large.

How to remedy this disparaging situation? CREW’s research shows that reliable and accurate data is the key to rectifying widely-held myths and misperceptions about working women. The white paper further states that, "When presented with a true picture of what women can bring to the boardroom table, astute businesses cannot afford to overlook the opportunities arising from promoting suitably-qualified women in the interests of corporate responsibility."

CREW members can access the full white paper at CREW’s Web site. In addition, CREW stresses that participation – from men and women alike – in their 2010 benchmark study and further studies is critical to understanding how women can successfully overcome corporate equality hurdles.