What is the Glass Ceiling

The term ‘glass ceiling’ is used to refer to the invisible barrier or obstacle which doesn’t allow the women and minorities to go up in their corporate careers. It doesn’t matter even if they are extraordinarily talented. Only because of their gender and social status they are denied any growth or opportunity in their corporate careers.

The term ‘glass ceiling’ is a concept used in the world of economics. The term is basically used as a metaphor. Initially, it was mainly used for the women. But later on, the experts started to include the men from the minority section of the society too along with women.

David Cotter characteristics

David Cotter et al have formulated some characteristics which can confirm the existence of a glass ceiling. Those characteristics have been mentioned below.

  • A racial or gender difference or bias which cannot be explained by job-relevant features of the employee.
  • A racial or gender difference or bias which is more at upper levels of a result than at lesser levels of a result.
  • A racial or gender difference or bias in terms of opportunity to go up in the career path.
  • A racial or gender difference or bias which increase along the line of a long career with time.

Experts have found astonishing presence and prevalence of glass ceiling concept in some of the African countries along with the United States of America. But, as per the studies, glass ceiling is mainly affecting women rather than the minority men. Moreover, the practice is in place in almost all corners of the modern world where corporatization has come into practice. But, due to lack of proper research, the stories of the corporate downtrodden have not come in to the fore.

The Department of labor of the United States had formed a Federal Glass Ceiling Commission. The Commission has identified two major social barriers behind the case of glass ceiling. Those barriers are supply barrier and difference barrier. The supply barrier is directly related to achievement and opportunity. On the other hand, the difference barrier is directly related to intentional or involuntary bias, prejudice or stereotypes related to place of origin and gender.

Some of the common barriers which fall under the purview of glass ceiling have been mentioned below:

  • Minimal access to networks of communication.
  • Lack of neutral rating and testing systems
  • Non co-operation by the colleagues.
  • Absence of proper and systematic training.
  • Absence of strict monitoring policy.
  • Minimal reporting of glass ceiling cases and lack of follow-up of complaints.
  • Lack of awareness amongst the concerned parties involved in the glass ceiling incidents.
  • Intentional lack of opportunities.
  • Government role is still not up to the mark.
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