Glass Ceiling The ‘glass ceiling’ is an interesting symbol for exploring gender inequalities in the workplace or the corporate world. The barriers that hinder women from being promoted to higher positions or from occupying more powerful positions in corporate hierarchies have generally been illustrated by the symbol ‘glass ceiling’, a see-through wall which stops women from reaching the topmost of the corporate ladder (Palmer amp. Simon, 2010). According to Bombuwela and Chamaru (2013), the shortage of women in higher corporate positions is associated with continuous discrimination and bias against women within the organization. This means that even though women are currently able to move up to higher positions, at a certain point they are stopped by an unseen barrier. This is experienced by those who are hindered from being promoted because of their ethnic affiliation and/or because they are women. Still, progress has been made in the last ten years. According to the CEO of Highfield Human Solutions, Sherilyn Shackell, There is no doubt that women have progressed considerably among our global workforce, especially over the last few decades (AMA, 2010, para 7). She further added, Yet, despite reports that women are breaking through the ‘glass ceiling,’ it appears that the ceiling is just ‘slightly cracked’ rather than broken (AMA, 2010, para 7). The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) research in 2010 reported several disturbing trends: a mere 20 per cent of all executives are women, with almost 50 per cent of respondents admitting the total absence of women within the executive committee group. and, roughly 10 per cent of executive members belong to minority groups (AMA, 2010, para 4-6). Still, in spite of all the protests against the glass ceiling, corporate America is in fact accomplishing much in terms of allowing women to occupy powerful corporate positions. In fact, as stated in the survey of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States has the least discrepancy between the percentage of women occupying senior management posts and the percentage of male senior managers (Rampell, 2013). Since the 1960s’ social turmoil, the American government has been vigorously engaged in prohibiting gender discrimination in organizations. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the key statute addressing the issues of glass ceiling. The law firmly forbids all kinds of discrimination based on national origin, sex, religion, or race in the workplace (Palmer amp. Simon, 2010). This law helped ensure the continuous fragmentation of the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling can be totally shattered. Rather than placing too much emphasis on uncommon, extraordinary hyper-achievers, the focus should be on how women, irrespective of their professional position, educational achievement, or personal background, can take part in the public domain. Such transformation of outlook implies paying greater attention to the factors that encourage women to remain immobile at the bottom of the corporate ladder or give up completely, as both low-income and high-ranking women are quite often forced to do (Palmer amp. Simon, 2010). Re-evaluating the dilemma of women’s leadership through such perspective requires taking the focus away from women’s capabilities to the structural barriers that prevent them from attaining their aspirations or goals in life, both in the private and public sector.ReferencesAmerican Management Association (AMA) (2010). ‘Glass Ceiling is Cracked’ but not yet broken. American Management Association. Retrieved from http://www.amanet.org/training/articles/Glass-Ceiling-Is-Cracked-but-Not-Yet-Broken.aspx.Bombuwela, P. amp. Chamaru, D. (2013). Effects of glass ceiling on women career development in private sector organizations—Case of Sri Lanka. Journal of Competitiveness, 5(2), 3-19.Palmer, B. amp. Simon, D. (2010). Breaking the political glass ceiling: Women and congressional elections. UK: Routledge.Rampell, C. (2013). Comparing the World’s Glass Ceilings. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/comparing-the-worlds-glass-ceilings/?_r=0.
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