Glass ceiling

glass ceiling is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic (typically applied to minorities) from rising above a certain level in a hierarchy. [1]

The metaphor was first coined by feminists in reference to barriers in the careers of high-achieving women. [2] [3] In the US , the concept is sometimes extended to obstacles hindering the advancement of minority women, as well as minority men. [2] [4] Minority women often find the most difficulty in “breaking the glass ceiling” because they lie at the intersection of two historically marginalized groups: women and people of color. [5] Asian and Asian American news outlets have come to terms with the term ” bamboo ceiling ” to refer to the obstacles that all Asian Americans face in advancing their careers. [6][7]

Within the same contexts of the workplace, there are similar terms for restrictions and barriers relating to women and their roles within organizations and how they coincide with their maternal duties. These “Invisible Barriers” function as metaphors to describe the features that women undergo, usually in the context of their careers. [8]


The United States Federal Glass Ceiling Commission [9] defines the glass ceiling as “unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps members of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.” [1]

David Cotter and colleagues defined distinctive characteristics oven That must be put to Conclude That a glass ceiling exists. A glass ceiling inequality represents:

  1. “A gender or racial difference that is not explained by other job-relevant characteristics of the employee.”
  2. “A gender or racial difference that is greater at higher levels of an outcome than at lower levels of an outcome.”
  3. “A gender or racial inequality in the chances of advancement into higher levels, not merely the proportions of each gender or race at those higher levels.”
  4. “A gender or racial inequality that increases over the course of a career.”

Cotter and his colleagues found that glass ceilings are correlated strongly with gender. Both white and minority women face a glass ceiling in the race of their careers. In contrast, the researchers did not find evidence of a glass ceiling for African-American men. [10]

The glass ceiling metaphor has often been used to describe invisible barriers (“glass”) through which women can see elite positions but can not reach them (“ceiling”). [11] These barriers can be found in the most powerful, prestigious and highest-grossing jobs in the workforce. [12] Moreover, this effect prevents women from filling high-ranking positions and puts them at a disadvantage as potential candidates for advancement. [13] [14]


Marilyn Loden, during a 1978 speech. [15] [16] The concept of the glass ceiling was later published by the National Press Club in July 1979. citation needed ] Katherine Lawrence of Hewlett-Packard, Conference of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press . This is part of an ongoing discussion of a clash between the subject of promotion versus action opportunities for women at HP.

The term was later used in March 1984 by Gay Bryant. She was the editor of Working Woman magazine and was the editor of Family Circle . In an Adweek article written by Nora Frenkel, Bryant was reported as saying, “Women have reached a certain point-I call it the glass ceiling.They are in the top of middle management and they are stopping and getting stuck. ‘are all going to be out of the world.’ [17] [18] [19] Also in 1984, Bryant used the term of the book The Working Woman Report: Succeeding in Business in the 1980s.In the same book, Basia Hellwig used the term in another chapter. [18]

Widely Cited In a section in the Wall Street Journal in March 1986 Was the term used in the Article’s title: “The Glass Ceiling: Why Women Can not Seem to Break The Invisible Barrier That Blocks Them From the Top Jobs”. The article was written by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy D. Schellhardt. Hymowitz and Schellhardt was introduced to a business conference; it was originally introduced to an invisible, covert, and unspoken phenomenon that exists to keep executive level leadership positions in the hands of Caucasian males. ” [20]

As the term “Glass Ceiling” has been published by the public, with different ideas and opinions. Some argued that glass ceiling is a myth rather than a reality [20] As a result of public continuing debate, the US Labor Department ‘s chief, Lynn Morley Martin , Reported the results of a research project called “The Glass Ceiling Initiative” FORMED to Investigate the low numbers of women and minorities in executive positions . This report defines the new term as “those artificial barriers based on attitudinal or organizational bias that are advantaged in the advancement of their organizations”.[19]

In 1991, as a Title II of the Civil Right Act 1991, [21] Congress created the Glass Ceiling Commission. This 21 member Presidential Commission was chaired by Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, [21] and was created to study the “barriers to the advancement of minorities and women within corporate hierarchies” (the problem known as the glass ceiling), to issue a report on its findings and conclusions, and to make recommendations on ways to dis- mantle the glass ceiling. ” [1] The commission conducted extensive research, surveys, public hearings and interviews, and released their findings in a report in 1995. [2]The report, “Good for Business,” offered “tangible guidelines and solutions on how these barriers can be overcome and eliminated”. [1] The goal of the commission is to provide recommendations to the glass ceiling, specifically in the world of business. The report issued 12 recommendations on how to improve the workplace by increasing diversity in the organization and reducing discrimination through policy [1] [22] [23]

Number of women CEOs from the Fortune Lists has increased from 2012-2014, [24] but ironically women’s labor force participation rate decreased from 52.4% to 49.6% between 1995 and 2015 globally. However, it is obvious that some countries like Australia have increased the labor force participation of women over 27% since 1978. Furthermore, only 19.2% of S & P 500 Seats were held by women in 2014, of which 80.2% were considered white. [25]

Gender pay gap

See also: Gender pay gap and Gender pay gap in the United States

The gender pay gap is the difference between male and female earnings. In 2008 the OECD suggests that the median earnings of female full-time workers were 17% lower than the earnings of their male counterparts and that “30% of the variation in gender wage gaps across OECD countries can be explained by discriminatory practices in the labor market . ” [26] [27] The European Commission suggests that women’s hourly earnings were 17.5% lower on average in the 27 EU Member States in 2008. [28]A paper by political activist website “” suggests that as of April 2017, women in the United States were on average paid “80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual gender wage gap of $ 10,470”. [29] It is possible to draw conclusions from this point of view, and the research cited here is presented in favor of the assumption of society.

Although people who? ] argue that the gender pay gap is not falling anymore, statistics show that it will be at least 70 years from now for the gap to close citation needed ] . Scholars who? ] had predicted that, the gender pay gap would not close until 2056. [30]

In her article “Women and Politics”, Irina Zamfirache claims that the glass ceiling can be explained by woman’s place in society. The Article Suggests que la gender pay gap is decreasing over time, qui Seems Appropriate seeing as women are no follow portrayed as housewives citation needed ] . HOWEVER, selon Zamfirache, DESPITE the media still Projecting a disadvantageous image of women citation needed ] , the exchange of perceptions and stereotypes of women not only aim aussi que la minorities Suggests glass ceiling can be Eventually Dissolved. [31]

Glass escalator

In addition to the glass ceiling, which is already in the workplace, a parallel phenomenon called the ” glass escalator ” is occurring. These are the fields where they are previously occupied by women, such as nursing and teaching, and within these job fields, the men are riding right past women and going straight to the top, similarly to if they were on a escalator and a woman was taking stairs. Men are being offered more than just women, but they have worked just as hard, they are still not being offered the same chances as in some circumstances. [32]The chart from Carolyn K. Broner, Ph.D. shows an example of the glass escalator in favor of female-dominant occupations in schools. [33] While women have mostly occupied the position of teachers, they are taking the lead in the school system.

Research on the career paths of men who have female-dominated fields occupations, such as nursing or teaching, come to a conclusion that men benefit financially from their gender status. These conditions are often out of place in their contexts, often “reaping the benefits of their status to reach higher levels in female-dominated work.” citation needed ] Not only are they female, but they are more steadily than females. quote needed ]

A 2008 study published in Social Problems found that sex segregation in nursing did not follow the “glass escalator” pattern of disproportional vertical distribution; rather, men and women gravitated towards different areas within the field, with male nurses tending to specialize in areas of perceived “masculine” work. [34] The article noted that “men encounter powerful social pressures that direct them away from entering female-dominated occupations” (Jacobs 1989, 1993). Since female-dominated occupations are usually characterized by feminine activities, men who enter these jobs may be perceived socially as “effeminate, homosexual, or sexual predators”. [34]

Sticky floor

In the literature on gender discrimination, the concept of “sticky floors” complements the concept of a glass ceiling. Sticky floors can be described as women, compared to men, less likely to start the job ladder. Thereby, this phenomenon is related to gender differentials at the bottom of the wage distribution. Building on the seminal study by Booth and co-authors in European Economic Review, [35] during the last decade economists have attempted to identify sticky floors in the labor market. They found empirical evidence for the existence of sticky floors in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Italy, Thailand and the United States. [36]

The frozen middle

Similar to the sticky floor, the frank middle of the ladder, the slowing, if not halting, in the ranks of middle management. [37] Originally the term referred to the corporate resistance of senior management when issuing directives. Due to a lack of ability or lack of drive in the middle management ranks these guidelines do not come into force as a result of the company’s bottom line suffers.The term was popularized by a Harvard Business Review titled article “Middle Management Excellence”. [38]Due to the growing proportion of women in the workforce, however, the term “frozen middle” has become more common to the above mentioned slowing of the careers of women in middle management. [39] The 1996 study “A Study of the Career Development and Aspirations of Women in Middle Management” posits that social structures and networks based on “good old boys” and norms of masculinity exist based on the experiences of women surveyed. [40] According to the study, women who did not exhibit stereotypical male features, (eg, aggressiveness, thick skin, lack of emotional expression) and interpersonal communication tendencies are at an inherent disadvantage compared to their male peers. [41]As the ratio of men to women Increases in the upper levels of management, [42] women’s access to female mentors Who Could we advise em ways to navigate office politics is limited, inhibiting further Top upward mobility Within a corporation or firm. [43] In addition , the United States and Malaysia, respectively, [ STEM fields , respectively ] , [44] are more often than not. [45]

Glass Ceiling Index

In 2017, the Economist updated their glass-ceiling index. It combines data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs. [46] Countries where inequality was the lowest, in order of most equality, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Poland.

Second shift

The second shift focuses on the idea that women have a second shift in the way of having a greater workload, not just doing a greater share of domestic work. All of the task is in the workplace. Depending on location, household income, educational attainment, ethnicity and location. Data shows that women do work a second shift in the sense of having a greater workload, not just doing a greater share of domestic work, but this is not apparent if simultaneous activity is overlooked. [47] Alva Myrdal and Viola Kleinas early as 1956 focused on the potential of both men and women Research reported that men and women could have equal time for activities outside the workplace. [48] This “second shift” has also been found to have physical effects, especially for women. Women who engage in the care of a person who has a history of depression, anxiety, depression, and other problems. Irritability, low motivation and energy, and other emotional issues have been found. The overall happiness of women can be improved. [49]

Mommy Track

“Mommy Track” is a term used to describe women who simply disregard their career and meet the needs of their families. Women are often subject to long work hours that imbalance within the work-family schedule. [50]There are some people who have been working at a time when they are busy in the past. The research also suggests, flexible work arrangements for the achievement of a healthy work and family balance. A difference has been discovered in the cost and extent of childbearing among women in higher positions and roles, as opposed to women in lower-skilled jobs. This difference leads to women’s delay and postponing goals and career aspirations over a number of years. A large number of women across the country who have trained as a professional counterpart. Also, theDeloitte Touche , a professional hiring service firm, confirmed that they had recorded and reported that they were responsible for the loss of their mother and daughter. [51]

Maternal brain is a term that is also associated with the glass ceiling. Maternal brain is a hormonal and brain change that occurs during pregnancy. [52]

Concrete floor

The term concrete floor has-been used to Refer to the minimum number or the proportion of women Necessary for a gold firm board of directors to be Perceived as legitimate. [53]

See also

  • Celluloid ceiling
  • Equal Pay Day
  • Equal pay for women
  • Female labor force in the Muslim world
  • Feminization of poverty
  • Gender equality
  • Gender inequality
  • Gender pay gap
  • Gender role
  • Glass cliff
  • Material feminism
  • Mommy track
  • Sex differences in humans
  • sexism
  • Stained-glass ceiling
  • Superwoman (sociology)
  • Time bind
  • Work-life balance


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