Essay about The History and Breakdown of the Glass Ceiling

Essay about The History and Breakdown of the Glass Ceiling

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The History and Breakdown of the Glass Ceiling


The term the "glass ceiling" first came into use in 1986 when two Wall Street Journal reporters coined the phrase to describe the invisible barrier that blocks women from the top jobs in corporate America. (Glass Ceiling Commission,"Successful Initiatives "). Since then the metaphor has also been applied to the barriers of minorities. The Glass Ceiling Effect has been around for approximately 50 years. In my opinion it is on its way out the door. Corporate Officers and Senior Management are noticing the merits of women and minorities and doing something about it.

The glass ceiling, in its simplest form, is the theory that women and minorities do not advance into senior management or executive positions within corporate America. (Although recent trends have shown that select women and minorities have advanced into senior management.) It is a barrier that has been in place since women started redefining their roles in the family since World War II when their husbands were forced to leave the home and go fight in the war. At this time the wife went to work while the husband was at war to support the family. At the end of the war this new trend did not cease. Women received this era as a time of choice. Although the majority of women, at this time, chose not to continue working when the war ended, a percentage remained in the workforce. This change in the culture and structure was not accepted on a positive note. Women and minorities faced multiple barriers to promotions.

Up until 1964 there were no laws in place prohibiting or penalizing discrimination in the workplace. Then came along the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More specific in the Civil Rights Ac...


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...f the Nation's Human Capital. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1995.

Glass Ceiling Commission. Successful Initiatives for Breaking the Glass Ceiling. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1993.

Glass Ceiling Commission. The Impact of Corporate Restructuring and Downsizing on the Managerial Careers of Minorities and Women. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1994.

Glass Ceiling Commission. Use of Enforcement Techniques in Eliminating Glass Ceiling Barriers. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1994.

The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., Know Your Rights and How to Make them Work
for You. 4th ed. New York: Reader's Digest, 1997.

Valente, Marcela. "LABOR-ARGENTINA: FEMALE EXECUTIVES SOUGHT AFTER BY BIG BUSINESS." 28 July 1999. Newsletter, Interpress Service. Argentina: Global Information Network, 1999.

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