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Glass ceiling

What does the phrase Glass Ceiling mean?

Glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that prohibits certain individuals from being promoted to managerial and executive-level positions within an organisation or industry. The phrase is frequently used to characterise the challenges that women and minorities encounter when attempting to advance in a male-dominated business hierarchy. The obstacles are frequently unwritten, implying that these people are more likely to be held back by accepted standards and unconscious biases than by clearly established business policies.

What is an example of the Glass Ceiling at work?

The office of the president of the United States is one example of the glass ceiling. Despite the fact that there is no law prohibiting a woman from holding this position, it has yet to happen.  

Consider a company with a diverse workforce, including a high ratio of women and minorities at all levels. Compare that to upper management, where women and minorities are disproportionately underrepresented.  

Now, take the case of a long-serving female employee. A position in senior management becomes available. Instead of being promoted, the women is given the task of training the new manager, who is a less competent man. The women may be doing all of the work of a manager and handling your responsibilities well, but you lack the title or pay rate of others in your position.

Types of glass ceiling barrier

  • Different remuneration for comparable work  
  • Discrimination or harassment in the workplace based on sexuality, ethnicity, race, or religion  
  • Lack of family-friendly workplace rules (or, on the other hand, pro-child/pro-family principles discriminating against gays, non-parents, or single parents)  
  • Stereotyping about women's responsibilities and abilities; exclusion from informal networks
  • Senior leadership's failure to take responsibility for women's advancement; a scarcity of role models; Long hours are required for progress, which is frequently referred to as the hour-glass ceiling, due to a lack of mentoring.

How can employers break the Glass Ceiling?

Corporate executives can influence public opinion by leading by example. Employers have the following options:  

  • Acknowledge the importance of diversity  
  • Ensure that women and minorities are represented on boards and in senior management by committing to gender and racial equality.  
  • Preconceptions and stereotypes that contribute to the glass ceiling must be addressed.  
  • Employees are matched with mentors who are a good fit for them.  
  • Make networking opportunities available to everyone.  
  • Allow all qualified candidates to apply for promotions.  
  • Encourage improved internal communication and accountability; hold individuals in positions of authority accountable; and be intolerant of discriminatory practises.
  • Encourage a healthy work-life balance

Is the glass ceiling still a problem?

According to studies, the glass ceiling still exists in many forms in various countries and locations around the world. Women's stereotypes of being emotional and sensitive may be major factors in why they fail to break through the glass ceiling. It is apparent that, despite differences in culture, values, and traditions, women and their role in society are held in high regard in all societies. In communities where women are held to traditional standards, these stereotypes are frequently reinforced. Women's preconceptions and perceptions are slowly changing around the world, reducing gender segregation in businesses.