Indira Ahluwalia, President of KAUR Strategies LLC  and former SBAIC Chair, authored an article about shattering the “glass box” that Devex featured as part of its #GlobalDevWomen Leadership Week.  Indira is an advocate and entrepreneur who is committed to changing the world for the better by taking meaningful risks to tell the truth respectfully to build greater synergies particularly in conflict.  KAUR Strategies LLC provides executive coaching, corporate strategy and advisory services, and diversity and inclusion consulting.

Opinion: Development professionals, here’s how to shatter the glass box

The term “glass ceiling” conjures images of an invisible and seemingly impenetrable barrier that keeps women from advancing above a certain hierarchy. An employee with many gradients of differences — gender plus sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity or disability — faces even greater constraints for both vertical and lateral shifts.

The field of international development is particularly susceptible to the glass box paradigm, even as it supports changing the lives of diverse people across nations. In order to create solutions for the complex problems confronting development, both the employer and employee bear responsibilities for breaking the glass boundaries that limit achievement.

Development organizations build armies of experts, typically with women and people of color filling the back offices and scarce diversity at the top. Often, young Caucasian program staff manage older more experienced local managers and subconsciously determine capacity more by accent than merit.

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