Glass Ceiling for Women: Does It Really Exist?


You’ve probably heard of the “glass ceiling” – that elusive obstacle that keeps women from reaching their full potential. In the 1990s, the Glass Ceiling Commission, created by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, defined it as “the invisible barriers that women confront as they approach the top of the corporate hierarchy.”

But that was more than two decades ago, which begs the question: Is the glass ceiling still relevant to society today? After all, you may be thinking, “We have plenty of women in CEO positions these days – and just recently, we were close to electing the first woman president!”

This question has been posed many times before, and time and again, the conclusion is more or less the same: The glass ceiling is intact.

Just look at a poll conducted in late 2016 by The Guardian. When asked whether Hillary Clinton’s presidential nominee status constituted the breaking of the glass ceiling for women, the majority (75 percent) of readers said that it did not.

About: Women’s History presents another example, noting: “The number of women in senior executive positions still lags considerably behind the number of men. A 2008 survey (Reuters, March 2008) showed that 95% of American workers believe that women have made ‘important advances in the workplace over the last 10 years’ but 86% believe that the glass ceiling has not been broken, even if it has been cracked.”

According to popular opinion, we have a ways to go. And as much as I don’t like to admit it, I too believe the glass ceiling continues to be part of our society.

The question now is: How do we break through it once and for all? We’ve come so close, haven’t we?

The Huffington Post suggests that it’s helpful to confront the issue head on, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist: “Acknowledging the obvious – that, despite progress, the glass ceiling is intact – should come as a breath of fresh air. Now we can relax and get back to work.”

I think this makes a lot of sense. It’s simple: We just keep working for the change. Giving up is not an option. We must keep pushing through. Think of this as one more chapter in the women’s rights movement. It’s taken us hundreds of years, as a society, to get to where we are now – the golden age of women’s rights, in my opinion. Just think where we’ll be in another 50 or 100 years! By then, the glass ceiling for women could just be another chapter in the history books.

Looking to strengthen your leadership skills? Take a look at my blog on leadership for women for ideas. I also recommend board seat strategist Jill Griffin, who helps women expand their influence by earning corporate board seats. And is another great resource and job board for women determined to succeed in business.

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