Chapter 2My College-Self Says, “What Glass Ceiling?”. . . My Now-Self Responds

Lindsey Frase

Executive Vice President Willis Re, Inc.

At 22, life feels pretty rich. Angst ridden, maybe. Full of promise, absolutely. Beginning my senior year at Santa Clara University in 2002, Beyonce was still part of Destiny’s Child, and my Seattle Mariners had just won 116 games. Roughly half of the students in my undergrad business classes were female, and the honors business group to which I belonged had a gender-similar distribution. While there were only 13 females in the U.S. Senate (13 percent) and a paltry three female CEOs in the Fortune 500 (1.4 percent), this concept of the “glass ceiling” was categorically not a problem of my generation. What glass ceiling? Surely, we were past it. Given my own life observations and experiences, it seemed clear that the strong and capable women of the prior generation had already fought that profoundly important battle. Sure, we hadn’t had a female president yet, and executive ranks weren’t quite 50-50, but I knew with that senior-in-college certainty that we were basically “there.” My generation didn’t need to fight to play sports (thanks, Title IX) or to get a higher education. My class photo would look nothing like my father’s law school graduation picture proudly framed in his office. I recall time and time again as a child counting the women in the picture. It was (always) three. I remember that vividly because it was so remarkably foreign to ...

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