Over the past few decades, the perception of a gendered workplace paradigm has been a subject of inquiry in the field of social psychology research. In the 1980s, the metaphor of the glass ceiling was conceived in order to help explain this phenomenon. The genesis of this metaphor has been credited to magazine editor Gay Bryant (Barreto, Ryan, & Schmitt, 2009); however, the terminology of the glass ceiling was only assimilated to the vernacular after it was highlighted in an article in the Wall Street Journal in 1986 (Barreto, Ryan, & Schmitt, 2009). In 1991, the U.S. Department of Labor further legitimized the existence of the glass ceiling when it issued A report on the glass ceiling initiative (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991), and reaffirmed it, when they established the Glass Ceiling Commission in 1995 (U.S. Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). More recently, new metaphors have emerged to further delineate barriers that women face in the workplace including the metaphors of the glass cliff and the glass slipper.
The purpose of this paper is to examine and review current social psychological literature and research pertaining to the barriers that women face in the workplace in the 21st century. Succinctly, the vital question that this paper asks is “What are the major “glass” barriers currently facing women in the workplace?” This paper specifically focuses on research investigating the phenomenon’s of the glass ceiling, the glass cliff and the glass slipper. Lastly, this paper will highlight current research recommendations on steps that should be taken to remove these barriers within the workplace paradigm.
Major “Glass” Barriers
There are three major “glass” barriers that women face in the workplace in the 21st century. Th...
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...temporary metaphor for a glass barrier that women face in the workplace is the glass slipper effect. The glass slipper effect proposes that there is an implicit barrier that reduces women’s interest and aspiration for power (Rudman & Heppen, 2003).While their research is preliminary, Rudman and Heppen believe that further experimental and longitudinal studies will confirm the glass slipper effect (Rudman & Heppen, 2003). Their research concludes that the glass slipper effect is harmful to women’s progress and is damaging to their implicit attitudes (Rudman & Heppen, 2003). Moreover, they are concerned about the implications of romantic socialization and caution that if women are unaware of the linkage between their implicit fantasies and their aspirations then they will continue to hold themselves back (Rudman & Heppen, 2003).
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