EY- Members of GWBAC at the 2013 Strategic Growth Forum

"Leaning in" might be all the rage — but "hanging in" is just as important to make sure women gather momentum in the workplace. 

At a meeting of the Global Women in Business Advisory Council, members discussed ways to build critical mass for stronger female participation in the workplace. Their top three suggestions included:  

1. Don't leave the workforce at the tipping point

Adele Oliva, a partner at Quaker Partners, referred to a noted trend where women stop advancing up the corporate ladder. They "self-select" to take themselves off the fast track by not connecting with senior management in their organizations. 

2. Don't retire too early

Studies show women are retiring earlier than men, leaving less female role models for those coming up the ranks. It may be lonely at the top, but don't let that stop you.

Diane Foreman, CEO of the Emerald Group, finds it's important to build social networks outside the workplace, because "leaders lead, and have to make the hard decisions, which might not get you liked."

Seema Kahn, co-founder of DAF Advisory, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, notes that "In the sea of men, women need to know they are not alone."  

Moira Forbes, founder of Forbes Women, reminded the women in the audience that "one of the most powerful tools we have are those sitting on your left and right."

3. Keep the ladders down

"Women need to support and invest in each other in many ways – networks, role models, advocates, actual capital funding for those starting out," says Maria Pinelli, EY Global Vice Chair, Strategic Growth Markets.

"We need to paint the full picture to show women what's possible in corporate life – ways to juggle, ways to succeed, ways to expand your thinking of family and career," suggests Kate Barton, EY's Americas Vice Chair, Tax Services.  

And adding one woman on a corporate board usually leads to more, notes Deborah Soon, Senior VP, Catalyst, debunking the myth that "women step on other women's eyeballs to get to the top." 

The meeting took place in Palm Springs, CA, concurrent with the EY Strategic Growth Forum®.

Stay up-to-date on activities around the Global Women in Business Advisory Council via Twitter @TrepCenter.