The Glass Ceiling: A Tool of Discrimination Against Women

1. Introduction:

The phenomenon of the “glass ceiling” exists in many spheres of social life and limits women’s opportunities for self-realization and career growth. The term “glass ceiling” was first used in the 1980s and defined as an invisible barrier that does not allow women to reach top management positions in companies (Heilman, 2012). Nowadays, the glass ceiling is often used in a broader sense and refers to any artificial obstacles that prevent women from achieving success in their chosen field (Cook, 2000).

The glass ceiling is a manifestation of gender discrimination that exists in modern society. Despite the fact that women have been fighting for their rights for many years and have achieved significant progress in this area, they still face numerous challenges associated with the glass ceiling effect. In this essay, I will explore the social roles of women in contemporary society and the phenomenon of the glass ceiling. I will also suggest ways to overcome the negative effects of the glass ceiling.

2. Social roles of women in contemporary society

Nowadays, women have more opportunities for self-realization and career growth than ever before. However, they still occupy a subordinate position in many spheres of social life. In this section, I will discuss the social roles of women in business and politics – two areas where the glass ceiling effect is most pronounced.

2. 1 Women in business

Despite the fact that women make up more than half of the world’s population, they are still underrepresented in leadership positions in business. According to a global survey conducted by Grant Thornton International Ltd., only 24% of senior management positions are occupied by women (Grant Thornton International Ltd., 2016). The situation is even worse when it comes to top management positions – only 10% of CEOs are women (Catalyst, 2016).

There are several reasons why women are underrepresented in leadership positions in business. First of all, it is due to the fact that women are often assigned to low-level positions and are paid less than men (Catalyst, 2016). This is partly due to the fact that women are still responsible for most household chores and child care duties, which limits their opportunities for career advancement (Balogun et al., 2003). In addition, women are often discriminated against on the basis of their gender – they are often perceived as less competent and capable than men (Heilman, 2012). Consequently, they are less likely to be promoted to leadership positions (Balogun et al., 2003).

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions has negative consequences for both individual businesses and society as a whole. First of all, it leads to a loss of talent and skills – businesses miss out on the valuable perspectives that women can bring to leadership roles (Catalyst, 2016). In addition, it increases wage inequality between men and women – according to Catalyst, women earn 79% of what men earn (Catalyst, 2016). This has a negative impact on economic growth since it reduces consumption and limits investment opportunities (Balogun et al., 2003).

2. 2 Women in politics

Women are also underrepresented in politics. Although their share of seats in parliament has increased steadily over the past few decades, they still make up only 22% of parliamentarians worldwide (UN Women, 2016). The situation is even worse when it comes to top political positions – only 5% of heads of state and 9% of heads of government are women (UN Women, 2016).

There are several reasons why women are underrepresented in politics. First of all, it is due to the fact that women have traditionally been excluded from political decision-making (Balogun et al., 2003). In addition, women are often discriminated against on the basis of their gender – they are often perceived as less competent and capable than men (Heilman, 2012). Consequently, they are less likely to be elected to political office (Balogun et al., 2003).

The underrepresentation of women in politics has negative consequences for both individual countries and society as a whole. First of all, it leads to a loss of talent and skills – countries miss out on the valuable perspectives that women can bring to leadership roles (UN Women, 2016). In addition, it limits women’s participation in the political process and reinforces the stereotype that politics is a man’s domain (Balogun et al., 2003). This has a negative impact on democracy and political stability.

3. The glass ceiling – a tool of discrimination against women

The glass ceiling is a tool of discrimination that is used to exclude women from leadership positions in business and politics. The glass ceiling effect is caused by various factors, including gender stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination (Heilman, 2012). These factors lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy – women are less likely to be promoted to leadership positions because they are seen as less competent and capable than men (Heilman, 2012).

The glass ceiling has negative consequences for both individual businesses and society as a whole. First of all, it leads to a loss of talent and skills – businesses miss out on the valuable perspectives that women can bring to leadership roles (Catalyst, 2016). In addition, it increases wage inequality between men and women – according to Catalyst, women earn 79% of what men earn (Catalyst, 2016). This has a negative impact on economic growth since it reduces consumption and limits investment opportunities (Balogun et al., 2003).

4. Ways to overcome the glass ceiling effect

There are several ways to overcome the negative effects of the glass ceiling. Firstly, businesses can create programmes and policies that promote gender equality. For example, they can introduce flexible working arrangements that take into account the needs of employees with child care responsibilities (Balogun et al., 2003). Secondly, businesses can provide training and development programmes that help employees to progress in their careers regardless of their gender (Catalyst, 2016). Finally, businesses can create mentoring programmes that pair up experienced employees with less experienced employees – this will help to improve career prospects for both men and women (Catalyst, 2016).

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, the glass ceiling is a tool of discrimination that is used to exclude women from leadership positions in business and politics. The glass ceiling has negative consequences for both individual businesses and society as a whole. However, there are several ways to overcome the negative effects of the glass ceiling. Businesses can create programmes and policies that promote gender equality. In addition, they can provide training and development programmes that help employees to progress in their careers regardless of their

FAQ

The glass ceiling phenomenon is a term that refers to the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that limits women's advancement in the workplace.

Social roles contribute to the existence of a glass ceiling by limiting women's access to high-level jobs and opportunities. Women are often expected to take on lower-level positions, which can lead to them being passed over for promotions or earning less money than their male counterparts.

The glass ceiling can be broken by increasing visibility of qualified women candidates, supporting women in leadership roles, and implementing policies that promote gender equality in the workplace.