WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 03, 2010, 08:37 AM

Women motivate each other to 'Breakthrough'

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A new generation of women is stepping into the working ranks and predicted to move higher than ever before. But how do you get women who earn 15 percent less than men and only make up 3 percent of fortune 500 company CEOs to break the barriers? Sometimes it starts with girls motivating each other.

Breakthrough! That's the theme of today's women in business conference, and exactly what it's encouraging girls to do.

“I think I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

Brimming with confidence, a room full of high school girls discuss endless possibilities of what they can do with their lives.

“I think girls are getting better, and stuff like this helps and puts us forward that we can do anything and the sky is not the limit.”

And it is high schoolers who planned the event, to show other girls the glass ceiling is gone.

“Have them realize they can go places. These women are great examples of what you can become.”

These DECA members invited local business leaders and high schoolers to discuss opportunities which Ann McConn, from Alerus Financial, says are bigger than ever for females. She's glad to see most of these girls know it.

“They do have a lot of confidence and I think that's great.”

Ann says this generation can access leadership opportunities older women helped pave the way for.

“A lot of the women I went to college with, their mission was to find a spouse and have a family, but the new potential just as so much potential.”

Some proof of progress: More women are in undergraduate or graduate school than men, the pay gap is shrinking, and more women are filling leadership positions. 15 fortune 500 companies are now led by females.

“I kind of take it as a challenge to be one of the next women, like the 16th or 17th.”

Their bark may not always be as big as their bite.

“Maybe, hopefully, management would be cool.”

And as long as women young and old keep pumping each other up, perhaps even the sky is not the limit.