"There Is No HR Fairy Godmother": 12 Fierce Women on What It Takes to Get Ahead

A shocking statistic used to be all it took to spark a conversation about pay equality. Now, the latest projection that women won't receive equal compensation to their male co-workers until 2152—yes, 135 years from now—barely raises an eyebrow. We've become so desensitized to this information that earning 4% less than the guy sitting next to us has just become reality. But it shouldn't be.

So what's it actually going to take? "To make real progress, it has to be about power—using and growing the power we women already have," rather than the power we're waiting to be given, says Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest and author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work. It's not just down to your manager or superiors to shift the status quo; it's on you.

From CEOs and entrepreneurs to leading lawyers and venture capitalists, we called on 12 fiercely successful women to find out what it takes to get ahead and, more importantly, how to get there. Their message is simple but strong: Be determined, not dismayed.

Here are 12 realistic things we can all do to nudge the bar that little bit closer.

Tell us: What are your methods for challenging the status quo?