The Glass Ceiling: A Human Capitalist Perspective

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The glass ceiling is an invisible barrier preventing women and minorities from advancing into upper management (Bell 67). Despite extensive legislation and the widespread implementation of equal opportunity policies, there is still widespread structural inequality and job segregation in organizations throughout the United States. "The level of the `glass ceiling' varies among organizations and is reflected in different employment patterns, hiring practices, and promotion plans" (Adler 451). The purpose of this paper is to provide background as well as a more in-depth analysis of the glass ceiling phenomenon and apply a human-capitalistic theorist perspective to the issues.

Women are underrepresented in managerial (Adler 451) and executive level positions within organizations in the United States even today. Although females embody almost fifty percent of the workforce (Adler 451, they occupy only about thirty percent of all salaried positions, twenty percent of middle manager positions, and about five percent of executive level positions (Bell 65). At the current rate of increase in executive women, it will take until 2466 or over 450 years to reach equality with executive men.

There are three major barriers that prevent women from moving into the upper hierarchies of management in an organization; these include (1) societal barriers, (2) internal structural barriers, and (3) governmental barriers (GCC 7).

"Societal barriers which may be outside the control of business" include barriers relating to educational opportunity and attainment as well as the difference barrier, which is the conscious or unconscious "stereotyping, prejudice, and bias related to gender" (GCC 7-8). Women are perceived as being less knowl...

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