Going up.

Author:Milazzo, Vickie L.
Position:Business & Finance - Women in business

IT IS A FACT: women in business are on the rise. Women now occupy 24% of corporate senior leadership positions around the world, and 37% of worldwide entities in the formal sector are owned by women. Females make up 47% of the workforce, and 51.4% hold managerial and professional positions. Women are outpacing men in education (57% of bachelor's degrees and 63% of master's degrees are earned by females), and 40% of women outearn their husbands.

While we are not there yet, women are making great strides in catching up to men in business. The best news is, the race is just beginning, and it is becoming exponentially easier for women to break ahead. One factor propelling women onward and upward is their unwillingness to be treated like a commodity.

It seems it finally is sinking in that women already are CEOs (chief everything officers) of our lives and families. We manage careers, households, meals, shopping, and more--and we do not even break a sweat, except at the gym. Entrepreneurship, leading projects, facilitating teamwork, and more simply are extensions of what we already excel at, and our expertise is a huge asset to companies when channeled professionally.

If you are ready to jump on the elevator and push the "break the glass ceiling" button with your fellow women, read on:

Act like the executive you strive to be. Every day at work is an audition for an executive position and, the more you act the part, the more likely you wifi be cast for the position.

At my company, there were two female executives who already were running their departments even if their official titles did not reflect that. It was a no-brainer to advance them, but what about women who are not sure how to act? My advice is simple: pay attention. Surround yourself with as many mentors as possible. Study and model them. Remember to dress the part, too. I do not want to see your belly button, tattoos, or boobs hanging out.

Do not be a commodity. Commodities are easy to obtain and easy to replace--and that certainly is not how you want to be perceived at your job--whether you are an employee, leader, or entrepreneur. Do not shrink into your chair and become the invisible employee. Instead, make your presence count in every meeting, brainstorm, and project. That is the only way you will be seen as necessary and indispensable.

Women in general, and mothers in particular, are good at putting others' needs and interests before their own. They also are good at making...

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