RGM Blog 10 – The Glass Ceiling

Most people are familiar with the idea of the Glass Ceiling. The concept that it is harder for women to reach high ranking and executive positions because of gender discrimination. As a woman, I have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace in a variety of ways and it can be extremely frustrating and unfair.

“The glass ceiling is a barrier “so subtle that it is transparent, yet so strong that it prevents women from moving up the corporate hierarchy.” From their vantage point on the corporate ladder, women can see the high-level corporate positions but are kept from “reaching the top”… The glass ceiling “is not simply a barrier for an individual, based on the person’s inability to handle a higher-level job. Rather, the glass ceiling applies to women as a group who are kept from advancing higher because they are women.” More information about the glass ceiling can be found here.

This glass ceiling phenomenon is caused by many factors.

Many men feel that women are distracted from their work with the responsibility of household chores or raising a family. In addition, women workers can seem less valuable because many have to take maternity leave at some point in their career, so they have to pause their work and the company has to hire someone to fill in for them for a short time. According to one expert, the “glass-ceiling can also be attributed to years of male leadership in the corporate world which has created a masculine, patriarchal working environment.” Men have dominated the business world throughout history and have created somewhat of a ‘boys club’. They like to work with other men because they feel that they are better suited to be leaders and men are more likely to hire people that they feel are similar to them, namely men. More information on the causes and effects of the glass ceiling can be found here.

All in all, this problem has become a cycle that perpetuates itself. Women are overlooked and given less opportunities, then because not as many advance as high as men, men believe that they are not suited for the position and only hire other men. Of course there are many contributing factors including outdated gender roles, sexism and sexual harrassment in the workplace, the gender pay gap, and more. The point is, if we do not become educated on this issue and its causes and work to end it, then it will continue like a feedback loop. Women can be just as capable and intelligent as men, we just need to be given the chance to prove that.

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