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Breaking the Glass Ceiling. Jacklyn Morrison. What is the “Glass Ceiling”. The term "glass ceiling" has been thought to have first been used to refer to invisible barriers that impede the career advancement of women in the American workforce

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling

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what is the glass ceiling
What is the “Glass Ceiling”
  • The term "glass ceiling" has been thought to have first been used to refer to invisible barriers that impede the career advancement of women in the American workforce
  • This situation is referred to as a "ceiling" as there is a limitation blocking upward advancement, and "glass" (transparent) because the limitation is not immediately apparent and is normally an unwritten and unofficial policy.
types of glass ceilings
Types of Glass Ceilings
  • Different pay for comparable work
  • Sexual, ethnic, racial, religious discrimination or harassment in the workplace
  • Lack of family-friendly workplace policies
  • Exclusion from informal networks; Stereotyping and preconceptions of women's roles and abilities; Failure of senior leadership to assume accountability for women's advancement; Lack of role models; Lack of mentoring
gender wage gap
Gender Wage Gap
  • The difference in both the wages and earnings between males and females who have equivalent job titles, training experience, education, and professions
  • Women make 75.3 cents on the dollar to men, which is derived from statistics maintained by the United States Census Bureau from 2003, relating specifically to an across-the-board comparison of year-round full-time workers (US Census Bureau, 2003)3
  • Additionally, the median weekly income of full-time working women is only 70.5% of full-time working men. This statistic tends to hold true across all fields of work(Hesse-Biber and Carter 2005, p. 75)
breaking the glass ceiling1
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
  • Know Your Rights
    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has simple and in-depth information about the laws that prohibit this form of discrimination. Being knowledgeable about what these laws mean for you can help to break the glass ceiling.
  • Be Professional
    • Being professional does not only mean your work attitude but also your work appearance.
  • Education
    • Become a life long learner
identify the key competencies within your organization
Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization
  • Common skills and attributes of the people in your company’s upper levels.
    • What are the values of your organization?
    • What behaviors does your company value and reward?
    • What type of person is promoted?
set objectives to align your competencies with top management
Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management
  • Set goals
    • Don’t set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time.
    • Set goals such as clear communication, assertiveness etc.
  • Go after what you want
    • Let your boss know you want to work toward a higher level position
    • Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop
    • Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives, then monitor and measure your performance
  • It will not be handed to you
build your network
Build Your Network
  • Build relationships with other people in your organization
  • Network in all areas and levels of your company
  • Reach out to new people on a regular basis
  • Get involved with cross-functional teams
  • Expand your professional network outside of your organization. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company, you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities
find a mentor
Find a Mentor
  • A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you
  • A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth
    • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you?
    • Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support?
    • Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance?
build your reputation
Build Your Reputation
  • You want people to see your competence, leadership abilities, communication skills, technical knowledge, etc
  • Develop your skills and network so your name becomes associated with top management potential
  • Visibility is important
  • Seek high-profile projects
  • Speak up and contribute to meetings
  • Share ideas with peers and people in higher positions
recognizing the boundary
Recognizing the Boundary
  • Employer doesn’t try to hire or promote women
  • Women are not getting paid the same wages for the same work
  • Sex, race and ethnic-based stereotyping and harassment occur
  • No rules that allow for women to have families and continue to work
  • No opportunities to move up to higher positions
what can you do
What Can You Do…
  • Realize that you cannot be equal - you must be better than your competition for promotions.  Although this sounds unfair, it is reality.  If you are going to make a solid case for being promoted, it must be a clear case.
  • Recognize your company's philosophy.  If your company's senior management and Board of Directors has no Ethnic minorities or women, this is a bad sign.
  • Don't waste your time.  Look to advance your career with a company that values workforce diversity and eliminating the Glass Ceiling.  Companies that don't adopt this philosophy will continually see good people leave and they will eventually come to the realization that they must change.
  • If you have a lot invested, stay and fight.  Unequal pay and consideration for promotions is discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. 
  • United States Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionThe EEOC is a federal organization that works to stop discrimination in the workplace. Their web site provides information on federal laws as well as information on how to file a charge if you feel you have been discriminated
  • BreakTheGlassCeiling.comThis website is a great resource to learn about how to “break” the glass ceiling; both employers and individuals can use this
  • EthnicMajority.comThis website was made to provide information for women and minorities to move up in many areas including work. Here you can find specific information about the glass ceiling and look for a job with diversity-sensitive
  • CatalystCatalyst is a research organization that works with employers to make things better for women workers and provide work opportunities. They provide current information and research about what is happening for women right
  • Confronting the Glass Ceiling
  • Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools