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How to get to the C-Suit: The Women Challenge

How to get to the C-Suit: The Women Challenge
How to get to the C-Suit: The Women Challenge
Summary. While headlines celebrate the growing number of women in leadership roles, the journey to the C-suite remains an uphill climb. The percentage of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies currently hovers around 8%, highlighting a persistent disparity. This underrepresentation stems from a complex web of challenges. However, amidst these challenges, a wave of change is rising. This article delves deeper into these obstacles and explores practical tactics and strategies women can utilise to navigate the path towards leadership roles, ultimately paving the way for a more equitable future at the top.

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The month of March, recognised as Women’s History Month, serves as a potent reminder of the remarkable achievements and ongoing struggles of women. While progress has been made, attaining leadership positions, particularly at the C-suite level, remains a significant challenge for women. However, amidst these challenges, numerous strategies and evolving workplace dynamics are paving the way for women to shatter the glass ceiling and seize their rightful position in top decision-making roles. In this article we list our tactics to get women in C-suit positions.


Persistent Challenges

Despite their capabilities and contributions, several factors continue to hinder women’s advancement to C-suite positions:

  • Unconscious Bias: Despite efforts from many organisations and inspiring women at the C-suit level to eradicate stereotypes and bias, unfortunately implicit biases against female leaders still prevail. This leading them to be judged more harshly for their competence and leadership styles compared to their male counterparts.
  • Lack of Sponsorship: Mentorship is extremely important in giving a helping hand up the career ladder. Women often lack access to influential mentors and sponsors who can advocate for their advancement and visibility within the organization.
  • Work-life Balance: Possibly one of the biggest contributors, the burden of childcare and domestic responsibilities disproportionately falls on women cross most cultures in the world. This creating challenges in managing demanding professional roles without sacrificing personal lives.
  • Inequitable Compensation: The gender pay gap persists even for women in C-suit positions, creating a sense of demotivation and slowing down career progression for women.


Strategies for Success

Despite these challenges, there are various strategies that can empower women to navigate the path towards C-suite positions:


Building self-confidence

Cultivate an inner belief in your abilities and accomplishments. Do not believe in ‘imposer syndrome’, my motto in life is ‘if anyone else can do it, then I can do it too’, what I mean is anything that is humanly possible, you can achieve an excel at it with practice. Seek out opportunities to showcase your expertise and network strategically with individuals who recognize and value your contributions. Work for companies that provide a platform for success. Look for the ones where there is female leadership already in place.

‘if anyone else can do it, then I can do it too’

Developing strategic alliances

Build strong relationships with senior leaders, mentors, and sponsors who can provide guidance, support, and advocate for your advancement. Be strategic, allocate and understand the promotion policies and what is required in your company to reach the C-Suit, so you can identify who can help you. Network, join seminars where you can access senior leaders. Get a mentor from the C-Suit, preferably who is in the position level that you are aiming for. You can also request skip-level meetings to access management on the top of the hierarchy, they will be useful in recommending you for a C-Suit position.


Negotiating effectively

Hone your negotiation skills to ensure fair compensation and career development opportunities. Research industry trends and prepare data-backed arguments to secure the recognition and rewards you deserve. Though in the UK most companies do not disclose salary rates, you can find the information from friends, ex-colleagues, and websites like Indeed and Glassdoor. When recruiters reach out with a job that has a rate rage based on experience, aways ask for the highest rate, believe me, you can do it.


Embracing advocacy and mentorship

Advocate for other women in the workplace. By fostering an inclusive environment and supporting the advancement of others, you contribute to broader systemic change. On a personal level, this will also help you practice your leadership, so you are ready when the time comes for a promotion. Also, advocate for closing the pay gap and the motherhood penalty where you can so a change can take place in government policies or your organisation HR policies. Do not be shy to report unfairness, your well being is important, and any company will have to listen.


Leveraging technology

Utilise technology and flexible work arrangements to manage your work-life ‘balance’ effectively. This allows you to demonstrate commitment and productivity while prioritizing personal well-being. Automate as much as you can and use Artificial Intelligence where you can. For example, I yours truly is using AI to proofread this article.


The Evolving Landscape

There are several positive shifts in the corporate landscape that are encouraging for women seeking C-suite positions:

  • Increased awareness of unconscious bias: Organizations are increasingly acknowledging the need to address unconscious bias through training and awareness programs.
  • Emphasis on diversity and inclusion: Many companies are actively promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives, creating a more welcoming environment for women to thrive, and celebrating women who made it to the top.
  • Focus on flexible work arrangements: The growing acceptance of flexible work arrangements such as part time or remote work allows women to balance professional and personal commitments more effectively. We are still away behind though, as organisations are still in favour of the worker who does 9 to 6 in the office.



The road to C-suite and top decision-making positions remains challenging for women and might still be for many years to come. However, by employing strategic approaches, building strong support networks, and embracing a changing workplace landscape, women have the potential to shatter the glass ceiling and make significant strides towards achieving equitable representation in leadership roles. As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, let us continue to strive towards a future where women’s voices are heard, their talents are valued, and their leadership is embraced at all levels. We hope the few women in C-suit tactics we gave you in this article were helpful. If you would like us to cover any particular topics, or provide a 1-2-1 consultation, please reach out to us.

Disclaimer: The content of all our articles is protected by the Terms & Conditions policy. For license of content, please reach out to us directly, our information are on the contact us page.

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