AS A WOMAN, HAVE YOU EXPERIENCEDIs there a glass ceiling or is it an excuse not to try and possibly fail? There is a major debate currently going on about the “glass ceiling” in the work place. Many women feel that the work force has male dominance and find it extremely difficult to receive promotions and move up the ladder in their company.  Bestselling author of “Lean In”, Sheryl Sandberg feels that women should be more assertive, take control, voice their concerns and force the gap to close. On the other hand, some women feel that talking about the glass ceiling isn’t helpful at all and can actually aid in complacency and allow women to play the victim. These women believe placing too much weight on the existence of the glass ceiling can do more harm than good. Glass ceiling or not, how do you overcome hurdles? Whether or not the glass ceiling is a real thing or just an excuse- isn’t really the issue. Learning how to overcome obstacles and find success is something everyone faces, men and women alike. Women should take the necessary steps to succeed in their careers. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal lists ways to look beyond the wall in front of you. Some ways to break through are seeing the big picture by writing down a five year plan, taking responsibility of your work ethic, looking for ways to take initiative on big opportunities and developing an emotional intelligence. Don’t ever be afraid to take risks and acheive what you deserve. Do everything in your power to achieve your goals. Never let your gender control your behavior. Do you feel you have to work harder to prove your worth? If your answer was yes, you may be right. Women hold over half of the professional jobs in the U.S. but they only make up 34% of middle managers, 14% of executive officers, and 4% of CEOs. Why are these numbers so low? It might be difficult for a man to realize that the qualities women possess will have a positive effect on their leadership skills.  Helping those in management roles in your company understand the dynamics and subtleties of your personality and style, and other special character qualities that women possess can definitely be a daunting task but with a little effort and communication, you may just be surprised by the outcome. Are women to blame for the glass ceiling or do the views of society need to change? What do you think? Have more questions? Email Shannon Beusse at, connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter @burdhausbetty.