Step up against the forces that cause pioneering ambition to plummet

Take action against the forces that cause pioneering ambition to plummet.

Share your knowledge. Tell us what to add to this list!

If it’s YOU that’s constantly battling the forces making you feel like they’re chipping away at your ambition – if you’re feeling like the battle is just too much – then listen up!

  • Try to fight that feeling of defeat and know that you’re not alone.

  • Know that it’s not You. The way that you’re being treated is NOT your fault. Most people aren’t aware their behavior is causing such a negative impact on you.

  • Perceptions can be damaging. Approach each day with a mindset of being the best version of yourself, not someone else’s version of you.

  • Continue to put yourself out there. You’re here to be part of it…you’re here to have a voice. Focus on that.


Ally with women.

Stand with women. Work to recognize the bias and sexism they're experiencing and push it away from them. Notice and correct instances of inappropriate behavior in a safe, respectful manner.

Establish metrics to diversify.

Diversify new employee interviews, hires, promotions, internship programs, as well as the diversification of a project team.

Support women's groups that organically build support for each other.

Help create a dedicated space for female employees to have a sense of alliance that organically builds support. From informal to formal (ERGs) groups -- women need a safe place to identify common interests and seek out support networks.

Watch a movie research clip on the topic: Why We Need Women’s Groups.  A roundtable of female executives told us peer groups are only as strong as how connected the members are. A women’s group is a safe space to:
- share frustrations and discuss concerns,
- share challenges and ask for advice, and
- experience the proximity of power with female employees.

Play a team sport. Sign your daughters up for a team sport.

Recent EY research highlights the important role sport plays at every stage of professional women’s lives – from girls to C-suite executives. The research shows that 94% of C-suite women have played sports, demonstrating that sport participation can propel them into successful careers.

As we made the film, Pioneers in Skirts, we came to learn that if you can learn teamwork and to act as a team, you are learning and experiencing valuable lessons that uniquely positions you to thrive in a career.

To help demonstrate that a 'team sport' doesn't necessarily have to mean athletic sport, our story follows 3 teen girls on a robotics team (watch video) -- showing there are non-athletic ways to develop grit, resilience, and a sense of team.

Watch behind the scenes clip: Playing a Team Sport Leads to Career Success!

Try to be more aware of your own biases.

Practice intentional self-reflection by first realizing we all come to situations with opinions, responses, and expectations based off of our own experiences and upbringing. By being intentional and allowing time after interactions to reflect, we can begin to recognize our unconscious biases, understand them, control them... do better.

Share the care.

All over the world women are more likely than men expected to take on caregiving responsibilities.

Be a partner or spouse or relative who shares the care for children, elderly parents, or pets.

Seek out ways to increase the visibility of female employees.

Be a colleague's voice when she's not in the room. Say her name. Talk about how you appreciate her work, advocate for her by recommending her for a promotion or project due, elaborate on her skills, accomplishments, and potential.

Support the development of more female leaders. Read more at NCWIT.

Create a culture of inclusion.

Be part of initiatives that promote a work environment that welcomes and values employees of diverse backgrounds. Not having to worry about how others will perceive (or react to) them is key. When people feel accepted for who they are, they’ll be more likely to contribute during meetings and business conversations.

And it's a win win! When a company is truly inclusive, it will attract diverse talent while fostering business growth.

Sponsor women.

Sponsorship is powerful because it can lead to giving women access to opportunity and career growth. Sponsors talk up, advocate for, and even battle discrimination for women in order to place a more junior person in a key role.

It certainly isn't easy to be one, but a Sponsor needs to focus on getting to know a potential female protege. They need to work to build a relationship with her, feel comfortable giving her their personal capital, and keep an eye open for new opportunities for her.

Read about the Sponsorship Spectrum here.

Pay interns.

When you offer paid-intern opportunities you not only attract better and more diverse candidates, you are also helping to end a gender pay gap problem.

Did you know that unpaid internships are disproportionately held by women? As one of the first signs of the inequality they can face in the workplace, an unpaid internship --

  • reinforces the idea that women’s work is less valuable than men’s,
  • affects a woman’s negotiating power when she looks for her career job, and
  • contributes to her lifelong gender pay gap.

Invest in women.

Invest in women-led businesses and projects, pay to see films made by women, rent movies with women as lead characters.

Example of women-led directing, watch: The Making Of Our Kickstarter Video  :) and then: Kickstarter Video.

Respect and accept work-life balance.

If you're in a position of power, help to get work-life balance respected and accepted. Try to model alternative work/life strategies. Publicly show that you're leaving for a doctor appointment – to attend a family event – to be part of an exercise class.

Watch behind the scenes tips for women: How Do You Manage Your Time?

Pay women what they deserve.


Use these resources to learn how to be a better ally, become more self-aware of your own biases, find Pioneering gift ideas, and more.