Title: The Glass Wall: Success Strategies for Women at Work and Businesses that Mean Business

Authors: Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob

Page Numbers: 248  (Paperback)

Publisher: Profile Books

Publishing Date: October 2016

Based on their experience in British advertising industry, Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob argue that the glass ceiling has long been shattered but women still have to tackle the invisible glass wall.

Numerous studies have established that women equality is not only a moral imperative but also has serious economic implications. While strides have been made in chipping the glass ceiling that is characterised in legal issues,  invisible glass walls erected by social-cultural issues are still very much present. Anchored on the findings of a commissioned research carried out in the United States, United Kingdom and  Russia, Unerman and Jacob offer advice for both women who are on their way up and those who are already at the top.

There are two roadmaps at the beginning that shows routes for those who are on their way up and those with a view from the top so the reader has the permission of not reading it cover to cover.  Each chapter addresses issues that reflect an aspect of the glass wall and is filled with case studies and accompanying strategies for both groups of women and how to handle each issue. I found this to be a refreshing approach for a women’s career manual as most of the books that I have come across give “blanket” advice. Don’t get me wrong, they have been helpful but this is a more practical approach. This also worked for me because sometimes you buy a book and sometimes it takes ages for the author to get to the point. Aaargh!

I snagged this book from my sister who received it as a graduation gift earlier this year and just picked it up to see what’s it all about. My first reaction after I finished this book was “Where have you been for the past year?”  I felt that this book picked up where  Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In left off with its raw, blunt and no sugar-coating of issues that women face in the workplace.

Unerman and Jacob highlight that women from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) nations will have to work in diverse working environments with ongoing globalisation and fluidity of business. Given Kenyan’s unique position in the region, women working in both profit and non-profit sectors will have to be more culturally aware in order to fit into companies with international business models.

Given how brilliantly, this book articulates interesting ideas and is endorsed by heavyweights like Ms Diane von Furstenberg, I am genuinely surprised that The Glass Wall has not received as much buzz (at least in my online literary circles).  This would be a great gift from a mentor to a mentee with annotations so that they can  “buddy read”.

Photo Credit: Goodreads

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