Despite great progress in recent years, the number of women occupying top tier leadership roles in business is disproportionately small. According to the Pew Research Center, women currently hold only 4.6% of executive positions at S&P 500 companies and make up 16.9% of Fortune 500 board members. Even though women fill 50% of middle management positions globally, the sad reality is that many are unable to move forward to executive roles the way that their male peers do due to the persistent glass ceiling found in the corporate world.

As such, we have compiled 10 quotes by top female business leaders who have succeeded in breaking the glass ceiling:

Ursula Burns

“If you are sitting around the table but you say nothing, that’s a lost opportunity. Move beyond that and say something about what you have to offer. The reason you’re there is because you have something valuable that can be added.”

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox Corp


diane von furstenberg

“I’ve never met a woman who is not strong, but sometimes they don’t let it out. Then there’s a tragedy, and then all of a sudden that strength comes. My message is let the strength come out before the tragedy.”

Diane von Furstenberg, Founder of DVF and President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)


Indra Nooyi

“There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention the the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.”

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.


Sheryl Sandberg Facebook

“Every woman I know, particularly the senior ones, has been called too aggressive at work. We know in gender blind studies that men are more aggressive in their offices than women. We know that. Yet we’re busy telling all the women that they’re too aggressive. That’s the issue.”

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook


Rosalind Brewer sams club

“You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.”

Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club


Susan Wojcicki youtube

“I know from experience that being a mother gave me a broader sense of purpose, more compassion and a better ability to prioritize and get things done efficiently. It also helped me understand the specific needs and concerns of mothers, who make most household spending decisions and control more than $2 trillion of purchasing power in the U.S.”

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube


mary barra gm

“I never approached any assignment that, ‘Oh, I’m a woman.’ My gender doesn’t really factor into my thinking as I come into the room.”

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors


Christine Lagarde IMF

“I think you cannot have it at the same time. I think you can in a way have it all as long as you can afford to be patient. But you cannot have it all at the same time. You must accept there will be failures.”

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF


Marissa Mayer yahoo

“Find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time”

Marissa Mayer, former VP of Google and current CEO of Yahoo


Katia Beauchamp

“Work hard and own it. You make your own success and your own luck. Ask for what you deserve.”

Katia Beauchamp, CEO and co-founder of New York based startup Birchbox


Original article posted on Tharawat Magazine