Do you think there is really a glass ceiling in corporations?Do you think there is really a glass ceiling in corporations?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am more inclined to think that there are barriers in the upper echelons of power distributions in corporations.   Much of this is within the genealogy of corporations which are slow and resistant to accept change and whose history favors the wealthy, white male as residing in this position of power.  I am not inclined to see that there is an open conspiracy to deny women a place at the corporate table, but rather that making strides in this realm is something that will take time and not something that can be easily dismissed.  There is a definite crisis of representation of women as power brokers of corporations and business organizations.  It has definitely improved over time, but this crisis is still present and more must be done to make sure that it is alleviated.  At the same time, I would also suggest that there might be a larger issue present.  If we strive to alleviate this crisis of representation, are we keeping in mind that we could be exchanging one problem for another?  What I mean to say is that if we are only driven to see more women in power or more of any previously underrepresented group in positions of power, are we content with their presence or should they take active steps to ensure that they are not the "only ones" and that more agents of change are present?  It might be a situation where we in the modern setting have to be mindful of both rectifying the errors of the past as well as ensuring future errors of the same exclusion are not replicated.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, this depends on how you define "glass ceiling."  (I assume that you are talking about a glass ceiling for women here...)

It is clear that women are underrepresented in the highest levels of corporate management.  But does that, in itself, mean that there is a glass ceiling?  To me, it does not necessarily mean that.

The fact that there are so few women in high positions could be connected to other factors.  First of all, it could be connected to women taking time off within their careers to have children.  If they do this, it makes them less likely to make it all the way to the top.  In addition, it could be that women are less motivated to make it to the top.  Many feminists argue that women have different drives and ambitions than men do.  This may make them less ambitious in terms of getting the highest jobs.

So does that make a glass ceiling?  I'm not sure.  And I'm sure that there is discrimination.  But I have no idea which factors have how much impact on the underrepresentation of women in high positions.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Glass ceiling in business and management refers to the the tacit resistance women face in their climb up the organisational hierarchy. It is called ceiling to signify that it prevents women to rise above certain level. At the same time it is described as ceiling made of glass, because its existence is not clearly visible.

Yes, women do face some resistance in their climb along the corporate hierarchy in corporations dominated by men. However some clarifications are necessary. The glass ceiling is not an absolute barriers above which women cannot climb up, while they face no problem in reaching up to this ceiling. The glass ceiling merely refers to the extra problems women may face in getting promoted at every step of their corporate carriers. Also, it does not mean that women are not able to climb up to the top most positions. Some women do rise up to the highest positions in corporations and other male dominated organizations. This also includes highest executive positions in a country, such as that of prime minister.

Also the resistance of this kind faced by women has come down considerably in most of the countries. The fact that still the number of women in top executive position is less is not necessarily an indication of presence of glass ceiling. This low proportion of women is also due to the fact that total number of women engaged in many professions is much less than that of men. Further, many women who do tale up jobs outside the home, have their commitment divided between their homes and their jobs outside the home. This means that net effort they put in their jobs as well as experience and expertise gained by them in the corporate jobs gets reduced. Under these conditions their progress in their jobs based on merit is also likely to be slower.

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