Have Jamaican women broken the glass ceiling?


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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Management consultant Dr Nsombi Jaja says that the idea of a glass ceiling is really one of the mind and that, while professional women do face challenges in their upward career movement, the secret is finding a good mentor.

Jaja explains, “Some have broken the glass ceiling and I think some opportunities have been created for many to break the glass ceiling. My philosophy, though, is that we as human beings we set our intentions, and what we pay attention to, that's what we gonna get more of. And if we continue to say things are bad, then we gonna get more and more bad. But if we create a vision of what it is that we want to achieve and we are very steadfast in focusing on that vision, and moving confidently in the direction of that, there is no telling what we can achieve.”

Essentially, Dr Jaja is of the view that if a professional women sees a glass ceiling, then there is truly one.

However, Jaja encourages another viewpoint. “If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, endeavouring to live the life they are imagining, they will pass invisible boundaries and meet with unexpected success in common errors. And so, we tend to see why things cannot be done before we see the opportunities, and sometimes, even when we see the opportunities, we are still looking at what are the obstacles, and it is those of us who are bold and brave are gonna move confidently forward. We are the ones who are gonna achieve the great things that we desire.”

But Jaja recognises that obstacles are real.

“It is up there and in our head, it's real; but I'm saying its breakable. We can burst through it like how many of the women in Jamaica who serve on boards and commissions have been able to do, who are leading organisations and leading well. I think the opportunities are there. We have to see them; we have to want them badly enough and we need to want to work steadfastly to make it happen.”

Another challenge that professional women face is leadership. There is the idea that leadership is difficult. You're either born with it or you're not. Jaja believes that women should learn the principles though they may feel that it doesnt come naturally.

“I have been teaching leadership since 1986 and I can say that some people are born with natural leadership skills. Some of us learn it as we go through, and leadership competences can be taught. We know that. We have seen people move. And we have seen people move from very poor leaders to great leaders.”




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