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The Glass Ceiling: Are Women Treated Differently Than Men?

3258 words - 13 pages

Unfortunately, even today, women are still trying to prove themselves equal to men in many ways. The “glass ceiling” is perhaps one of the most familiar and evocative metaphors to surface from the 20th century. This expression has been used widely in the popular media as well as in official government reports. The image suggest that although it may be the case now that women are able to get through the front door professional hierarchies, at some point they hit an invisible barrier that blocks any further upward movement. “Below this barrier, women are able to get promoted; beyond this barrier, they are not”. Such a situation can be considered a limiting case for a more general phenomenon: situations in which the disadvantages women face relative to men strengthen as they move up executive hierarches. “Traditional approaches to recruitment, organization and job design, performance management and promotions are often designed in ways that are more suited to men than to women. This is what creates the glass ceiling”. Beyond the limit of job titles, the glass ceiling also creates a pay difference between men and women performing the same work requirements.
“The history of the Glass Ceiling Commission dates back to 1986 when Wall Street Journal reported a pattern of highly accomplished women being passed over for upper-level promotions due to an invisible barrier”. The term “glass-ceiling” first entered America’s public conversation almost two decades ago, when the Corporate Woman column from The Wall Street Journal identified this new phenomenon. “There seem to be an invisible –but impenetrable- barrier between women and the executive suite, preventing them from reaching the highest levels of the business world regardless of their accomplishments and merits”. This phrase immediately captured the attention of the American public as well as leaders in the corporate world, journalist, and policy makers. The metaphor quickly became a reference to the obstacles hindering the advancement of women. Secretary Elizabeth Dole soon became closely involved in identifying and making the glass ceiling problem public by issuing a report on the Glass Ceiling Initiative in 1991. The Glass Ceiling Act was ratified with only minimal changes as Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. It established the Glass Ceiling Commission and charged the twenty-one member Commission with a complex mission “to conduct a study and prepare recommendations on ‘eliminating artificial barriers to the advancement of women and minorities’ to ‘management and decision-making positions in business’” (
Long before the term “glass ceiling” was introduced, women around the world have been fighting for their rights in and out of the workplace. “Women’s rights movements are primarily concerned with making the political, social, and economic status of women equal to that of men and with establishing legislative safeguards against discrimination on the basis of sex”...

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