The Glass Ceiling Phenomenon

The Glass Ceiling Phenomenon

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The Glass Ceiling Phenomenon


‘The Glass Ceiling’ is a barrier to prevent women rising to the
highest positions in an organization as a result of informal
exclusionary practices (cited in Giddens 2002, pg, 552). These
practices include sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and
pregnancy discrimination.

Explanations for the ‘glass ceiling’ phenomena derive from the
stereotype of women into traditional roles. Many men still carry the
attitude despite living in this modern day and age that women are not
capable of higher managerial roles and that their place rightfully
belongs at home along with the house-hold chores. There is also the
point that many corporate firms think twice before employing women for
the top position, in terms of their level of commitment, for it is
inevitable that every woman will want to have a child at some point in
their life. However maternity leave is viewed upon as an expense in
terms of money and the valuable time that is wasted in order to fill
the vacant position.

The organisational structure is another barrier that women have to
contend with for it is evident that most firms are male dominated and
huddle together when it comes to after work social activities, thus
leaving the woman to feel as an out cast.

An article published in The Guardian 25/09/2002 backs ‘The Glass
Ceiling’ phenomena as it shows that women are still not making it to
the top of their professions, despite thirty years of equal
opportunities policies in the public and voluntary sectors. While
there may be some women higher up in management it can be argued that
these are just ‘token’ positions so that the corporate management
cannot be accused of discrimination. Those few who are successful in
making it are then dealt the blow of being paid substantially less

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then their male counterparts. This as a result shows just how wide
spread the undervaluing of women’s work really is. The article also
states that with women making up fewer than one in five of the four
hundred top chief executives surveyed, the findings suggest that women
still face widespread sexism in the public sector workplace, with the
“glass ceiling” still firmly in place.
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