The Nature of the Glass Ceiling Phenomenon in Multiple Settings

Contributors: Matthew DeRosier, Annalise Emons, Gwyneth Alteneder, Jillian Brooks, Gabriella Hensinger, Grace Newton

The “Glass Ceiling” is a metaphorical term that was coined in the 1980s to represent the “invisible and artificial barriers that block women and minorities from advancing the corporate ladder to management and executive positions” [1]. The use of the term has since widened in scope, and today it can be used not only to discuss the corporate workplace, but also sports, politics, education, and more. 

The discrimination women face because of these invisible barriers is often incredibly normalized within society, making it hard to notice. Structural and cultural institutions within the United States have worked to create the false pretense that diversity has been achieved in many sectors of society. A deeper analysis of the complexities of discriminatory practices however exemplify the numerous cases in which women, LGBTQ+ members, and ethnic miniorites continue to be marginalized.

There is no one way to eliminate the barriers to advancement of women and minorities. This research explores the intricacies of the nature of the glass ceiling phenomenon in recent years and addresses the progress that has been made within varying settings, as well as addresses possible remedies in alleviating the injustices faced by many. Emphasis is placed on the personal experiences of those who have fallen victim to the invisible barrier and general perceptions towards its presence.

Through the examination of sexual harassment, prominent female figures in politics, women’s athletics, as well as women’s and men’s management positions in the workplace, it is imperative that the injustices faced by many, minority and non-minority women alike, are brought to light and acknowledged in terms of what has been, and continues to be, done towards shattering the glass barrier. 

Learn more:

1.  Johns, Merida L. “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Structural, Cultural, and Organizational Barriers Preventing Women from Achieving Senior and Executive Positions.” Perspectives in health information management, vol. 10, (2013): 1e. 

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