There has always been the myth of the glass ceiling in a person's career, the point at which they can go no higher in a certain position, company or path. For women it's said that limit is much lower on average than it is for men, but as to whether that's due to old ways of thinking or people pushing in the wrong direction is unclear.

What is known, however, is that when it comes to leadership, women are far outnumbered. Of the Fortune 500, the biggest and richest businesses in the world, only 12 are female, according to CNN, and of those half are in the top 100. So where are all the women going that they aren't taking these positions? It's clear that it's not a matter of sexism or lack of ambition, but it may be that conflicting goals and money woes are keeping some from meeting their maximum potential.

Too many jobs

BusinessWeek reported that Marissa Mayer reached notoriety recently not just because she was hired as Yahoo's newest CEO, but because she was pregnant when the choice was made public. Not all women will choose to stay in the workplace during pregnancy or after childbirth, and figuring out a balance and giving up one option of the other is a difficult decision. Having a child in the first place requires a thorough financial plan, but adding and subtracting jobs can make it even more complicated.

Owning a business

Some women may overcome these obstacles by starting their own companies, making their own schedules and running their income from the top down. Entrepreneur published a report by American Express OPEN that showed the number of women starting businesses has been expanding rapidly in recent years, with more than 8 million individual firms privately employing almost an equal number of people around the country.

These female-founded firms make up nearly one-third of all small businesses, but they still have a lot of catching up to do – only 2 percent of these establishments bring in more than $1 million per year, meaning while women have the ambition, they need to follow through to foster higher revenues.