glass ceiling

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CEILING: Ceiling means how far someone can climb the hierarchy. And GLASS: Glass emphasize that everything is very clear and real that everyone can see everything very clear, that it is transparent and not obvious to the observer.

GLASS CEILING: The unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.


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An unofficial barrier to opportunities within an organization or company which is perceived to prevent protected classes of workers, particularly women, from advancing to higher positions.


OVERVIEW:An economic term, ''glass ceiling'' is a phrase that refers to the situation where a person with superior skill or experience is surpassed and locked in a job role due to their race, ethnicity, sex or other discriminatory factors, most commonly race or sex. This term has also recently been used to describe discrimination against other groups including deaf, gay/lesbian men and women, blind, and different age groups. For any woman who has yet to feel the affects of the glass ceiling on her career, she should consider herself lucky. As recently as last year, a study by consulting firm Accenture indicated that about 70 percent of women and 57 percent of men believe an invisible barrier-- a glass ceiling -prevents women from getting ahead in business. But there is a glimmer of hope.

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According to 97 percent of Fortune 100 companies have at least one woman on their boards and 188 companies in the Fortune 500 have two or more women directors; 34 companies have three or more women directors. And while 16 of 100 Senators are women an all time high -- 74 women sit in the House of Representatives, including the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

REASONS WHY GLASS CEILING EXIST???? Gender bias Lack of fair assessment Lack of awareness Labour laws in need of revision Unfair hiring practices Misinterpretation of data Attitudinal factors

So why do women still have to fight for the right to advance to the top? There are four primary issues that perpetuate the glass ceiling.

ExclusionismOne of the biggest issues that women still face is the continuing issue of the old boys club and womens exclusion from this network. So what are they doing about it? According to recent information from the Small Business Administration the number of self-employed women has increased by 33 percent over the last twenty years while one third of all American small businesses are owned by women. Not all women are in a position to start their own business, so work on building alliances. Business has a lot to do with developing good relationships. Network with other professionals, male and female, both inside and outside the organization. Having strong interpersonal and team building skills will go a long way in advancing a career.

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CommitmentToo many employers believe that women will quit beginning a family or caring for elderly parents; therefore, organizations are less likely to invest in a womans career, when in fact the lack of opportunity is quite often what pushes them away. Show a commitment and willingness to take on new challenges and risks. Go beyond book learning and higher education, and learn about the business. Think big-picture strategic issues, market trends, and changes in the industry. Be vocal about personal ambitions.

Wage GapEmployers sometimes view women as less committed because they are paid less, so they pay them less because they are less committed. According to BusinessWeek, April 2007, while women earn just 80 percent of what men earn one year out of college, that figure drops to 69 percent at the ten year mark. Overcoming wage gap differences can be difficult because most women are starting out at a disadvantage, and to try to close the gender gap is often impossible. Learn to negotiate and ask for what you deserve. Women should not settle for what they are offered. Instead, they should research the market value for their skills. The human resources department is a great place to start because they can determine where someone falls within the companys established salary range for each position based upon education, years of experience, and number of years with the company.

Role ModelsThough there are more role models today than ever before, it is still difficult to have someone to emulate when they are facing the same upward climb. One of the best ways to address this issue is to find a mentor male or female. Women should select someone who will show them the ropes, help them navigate the political minefields and point them in the right direction to further their career. When they make it, they need to reach back and help the woman behind them. When possible, promote and hire other well-qualified women Yes, the business world is still riddled with a variety of misconceptions, assumptions and historical biases towards women in the workplace. But just because there are still difficulties, doesnt mean women should stop trying. It is important to for them to persevere and go for what they want because they just may find they can at least crack the glass ceiling.

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Different types of glass ceiling barriers:

Different wages for the same or comparable work

Discrimination against people due to their race, ethnicity, religion or age

A lack of family-friendly work environments

Discrimination against people who may be gay, single parents, or non-parents

Gender stereo-typing or preconceptions of women's work roles and abilities

Requirement of long hours for advancement

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Levels and types of glass ceiling barriers:

Societal barriersThe Federal Glass Ceiling Commission of the United States Department of Labor identified two major societal barriers that cause and reinforce a glass ceiling. The supply barrier is related to opportunity and achievement. The difference barrier manifests itself as conscious and unconscious stereotypes, prejudice, and bias related to gender and ethnicity.

Internal business barriersThe following business-based barriers were identified:

Outreach and recruitment practices that fail to seek out or recruit women and minorities Prevailing culture of many businesses is a white male culture and such corporate climates alienate and isolate minorities and women Initial placement and clustering in staff jobs or in highly technical and professional jobs that are not on the career track to the top Lack of mentoring and management training Lack of opportunities for career development, tailored training, and rotational job assignments that are on the revenue-producing side of the business Little or no access to critical developmental assignments such as memberships on highly visible task forces and committees Special or different standards for performance evaluation Biased rating and testing systems Little or no access to informal networks of communication Counterproductive behavior and harassment by colleagues

The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission and independent research suggest that the underlying cause of the glass ceiling is the perception of many white males that as a group they are losing control and opportunity. Many middle- and upper-level white male managers regard the inclusion of minorities and women in management as a direct threat to their own chances for advancement. As a result of this "upper- and middle-level white

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male resistance", business-based barriers are not always being as forcefully addressed as they should.

Governmental barriersThe Federal Glass Ceiling Commission pinpointed three governmental barriers to the elimination of the glass ceiling. They are:

Lack of vigorous and consistent monitoring and law enforcement Weaknesses in the collection of employment-related data which makes it difficult to ascertain the status of groups at the managerial level and to disaggregate the data Inadequate reporting and dissemination of information relevant to glass ceiling issues

Other barriers

Different pay for comparable work. Sexual, ethnic, racial, religious discrimination or harassment in the workplace Lack of family-friendly workplace policies (or, on the flipside, policies that discriminate against gay people, non-parents, or single parents) Exclusion from informal networks; Stereotyping and preconceptions of women's roles and abilities; Failure of senior leadership to assume accountability for women's advancement; Lack of role models; Lack of mentoring Requiring long hours for advancement, sometimes called the hour-glass ceiling.


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