THE GLASS CEILING
What Is the Glass Ceiling for Women?
The phrase “glass ceiling” refers to an invisible barrier that prevents someone from achieving further success. It is most often heard in the context of women who cannot advance to the highest levels of power in the workplace. The glass ceiling is a way of describing whatever keeps women from achieving power and success equal to that of men.
The metaphor comments on an employee’s rise up the ranks of a hierarchical organization. Workers climb higher as they get promotions, pay raises, and other opportunities. In theory, nothing prevents women from rising as high as men. After the Women’s Liberation Movement and Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s, many people feel that discrimination is all in the past. However, in practice, there are still barriers.
A ceiling made of glass would be see-through. A woman can clearly see those above her who are more powerful. Instead of being able to achieve the same success, she is stopped by invisible forces that prevent her from rising further.
A Hard Barrier to Shatter
In the 1960s, overt sexism in the workplace was commonplace and frequently accepted. There were separate classified ads listings for men’s jobs and women’s jobs. Feminists recall letters of recommendation that commented on their looks. Although such behaviors seem long gone, a frustrating thing about the glass ceiling is that it is not overt. Instead of being a tangible barrier, which might be easier to identify, sexism in the glass ceiling workplace persists in more subtle ways.
What Are the Invisible Forces?
Although the Women’s Liberation Movement opened many doors, some women remain frustrated that they are the ones required to make sacrifices in order to balance family life with a career. Why, feminists ask, are men assumed to be able to have both family and career?
Even as more women entered the workforce during the 1960s and 1970s, feminists noted that traditionally male jobs were slow to open to women. Other practical glass ceiling matters include unequal pay rates and the idea that women lose out on involvement in an organization if they take maternity leave. Again, there is a contrast with men, who may or may not take time off for the birth of a child, and do not need to physically recover from the birth of their children.
EQUAL RIGHTS ACT (ERA)
Equality beyond Voting
Mary Wollstonecraft, Judith Sargent Murray, and Margaret Fuller were early writers who maintained that women should have rights, and be considered the equals of men. The Seneca Falls Declaration (1848) was concerned with many rights, not just voting rights. Whether it’s the right to own property in her own name, or the right to equal pay, women’s economic rights have been slowly changing over the last few centuries. The Equal Rights Amendment has been a source of considerable controversy.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee equality under the law for women. It was introduced in 1923. During the 1970s, the ERA was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification, but ultimately fell three states short of becoming part of the Constitution.
What the ERA Says
The text of the Equal Rights Amendment is:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
History of the ERA: 19th Century
In the wake of the Civil War, the 13th Amendment eliminated slavery, the 14th Amendment declared that no state could abridge the privileges and immunities of U.S citizens, and the 15th Amendment guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race. Feminists of the 1800s fought to have these amendments protect the rights of all citizens, but the 14th Amendment includes the word “male” and together they explicitly protect only men’s rights.
History of the ERA: 20th Century
In 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, giving women the right to vote. Unlike the 14th Amendment, which says no privileges or immunities will be denied to male citizens regardless of race, the 19th Amendment protects only the voting privilege for women.
In 1923, Alice Paul wrote the “Lucretia Mott Amendment,” which said, “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” It was introduced annually in Congress for many years. In the 1940s, she rewrote the amendment. Now called the “Alice Paul Amendment,” it required “equality of rights under the law” regardless of sex.
Women in Politics – Hilary Clinton 2016???
Global Women Political Leaders – Are women equal in the political arena?
Women Prime Ministers and Presidents: 20th Century.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Indira Gandhi, 1976.
How many women have served as Presidents or Prime Ministers in the 20th century? How many can you name?
Listed are women leaders of countries both large and small. Many names will be familiar; some will be unfamiliar to all but a few readers.
Some were highly controversial; some were compromise candidates. Some presided over peace; others over war. Some were elected; some were appointed. Some served briefly; others were elected; one, though elected, was prevented from serving.
Many followed into office their fathers or husbands; others were elected or appointed on their own reputations and political contributions. One even followed her mother into politics, and her mother served a third term as prime minister, filling the office left vacant when the daughter took office as president!
Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka
Prime Minister, 1960-1965, 1970-1977, 1994-2000.
Indira Gandhi, India
Prime Minister, 1966-77, 1980-1984.
Golda Meir, Israel
Prime Minister, 1969-1974.
Isabel Peron, Argentina
Elisabeth Domitien, Central African Republic
Prime Minister, 1975-1976
Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain
Prime Minister, 1979-1990.
Maria da Lourdes Pintasilgo, Portugal
Prime Minister, 1979-1980.
Lidia Gueiler Tejada, Bolivia
Prime Minister, 1979-1980.
Dame Eugenia Charles, Dominica
Prime Minister, 1980-1995.
Vigdís Finnbogadóttír, Iceland
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway
Prime Minister, 1981, 1986-1989, 1990-1996.
Soong Ching-Ling, Peoples’ Republic of China
Honorary President, 1981.
Milka Planinc, Yugoslavia
Federal Prime Minister, 1982-1986.
Agatha Barbara, Malta
Maria Liberia-Peters, Netherlands Antilles
Prime Minister, 1984-1986, 1988-1993.
Corazon Aquino, Philippines
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan
Prime Minister, 1988-1990, 1993-1996.
Kazimiera Danuta Prunskiena, Lithuania
Prime Minister, 1990-91.
Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, Nicaragua
Prime Minister, 1990-1996.
Mary Robinson, Ireland
Ertha Pascal Trouillot, Haiti
Interim President, 1990-1991.
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, German Democratic Republic
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar (Burma)
Her party won 80% of the seats in a democratic election in 1990, but the military government refused to recognize the results. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Khaleda Zia, Bangladesh
Prime Minister, 1991-1996.
Edith Cresson, France
Prime Minister, 1991-1992.
Hanna Suchocka, Poland
Prime Minister, 1992-1993.
Kim Campbell, Canada
Prime Minister, 1993.
Sylvie Kinigi, Burundi
Prime Minister, 1993-1994.
Agathe Uwilingiyimana, Rwanda
Prime Minister, 1993-1994.
Susanne Camelia-Romer, Netherlands Antilles
Prime Minister, 1993, 1998-1999
Tansu Çiller, Turkey
Prime Minister, 1993-1995.
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, Sri Lanka
Prime Minister, 1994, President, 1994-2005
Reneta Indzhova, Bulgaria
Interim Prime Minister, 1994-1995.
Claudette Werleigh, Haiti
Prime Minister, 1995-1996.
Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Bangladesh
Prime Minister, 1996-2001,2009-.
Mary McAleese, Ireland
Pamela Gordon, Bermuda
Janet Jagan, Guyana
Prime Minister, 1997, President, 1997-1999.
Jenny Shipley, New Zealand
Prime Minister, 1997-1999.
Ruth Dreifuss, Switzerland
Jennifer Smith, Bermuda
Prime Minister, 1998-2003.
Nyam-Osoriyn Tuyaa, Mongolia
Acting Prime Minister, July 1999.
Helen Clark, New Zealand
Prime Minister, 1999-2008.
Mireya Elisa Moscoso de Arias, Panama
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Latvia
Tarja Kaarina Halonen, Finland
GENDER DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
What is gender diversity?
According to the Equal Opportunity Office Diversity refers to human qualities that are different from our own and those of groups to which we belong; but that are manifested in other individuals and groups. Dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities / qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, parental status, religious beliefs, work experience, and job classification.”
Diversity as a concept focuses on a broader set of qualities than race and gender. In the context of the workplace, valuing diversity means creating a workplace that respects and includes differences, recognizing the unique contributions that individuals with many types of differences can make, and creating a work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees.
According to Sherrie Scott (freelance writer Las Vegas) gender diversity in the workplace typically stem from social factors, which influence the behaviors of men and women. Some organizations welcome gender diversity and encourage the inclusion of both sexes when making company decisions and offering promotional opportunities. Other organizations discourage gender inclusion and promote bias in the workplace. With most companies, gender differences add value and varying perspectives to an organization. Gender differences involve both physical and emotional factors and they are essentially the characteristics that influence male and female behavior in the workplace. These influences may stem from psychological factors, such as upbringing, or physical factors, such as an employee’s capability to perform job duties.
Differences may also stem from gender stereotypes related to men and women. For instance, a stereotypical assessment is that women belong in the home while men work and provide support. Stereotypes often lead to sex discrimination in the workplace. Men and women experience differences in perception in the workplace. According to the book, “Managing in the Age of Change: Essential Skills to Manage Today’s Workforce,” by Sophie Hahn and Anne Litwin, an employee’s gender can illustrate differences in perception related to organizational structure, problem-solving style and view of work-related conflict. According to the book, women perceive that individual work styles should be collaborative, where everyone works as part of a whole. Men, on the other hand, perceive that work should be completed independently without the assistance of others. Women also tend to be more supportive managers, whereas men are more direct.
Managers must remain mindful of the varying characteristics of men and women.