The topic of glass ceiling and the obstacles women face on their way to career growth raise emotions. Beyond emotions, however, glass ceiling topic also raises a whole set of controversies and concerns. The truth is in that many women consciously choose not to break the glass ceiling even when they face discrimination on the side of their colleagues and seniors. It is not a secret that companies provide women with certain material and non-material benefits, but these are still far from sufficient, and when women pursue their career ideals, they are often stopped from the career advancement at some lower levels of organizational hierarchy for the considerations of sexism, gender discrimination, racism, or other discriminative attitudes. In general, glass ceiling is a kind of a transparent barrier which may not be readily visible to employees, but which creates at times unavoidable difficulties for women, who seek to become professionals. That is why it is not only important to discuss the topic from multiple perspectives, but to reconsider the recent research findings as well as professional opinions with regard to the topic of glass ceiling. Such sources of information will work to establish an objective atmosphere and will help to make unbiased and relevant conclusions, as well as to produce a set of practical recommendations concerning the issue.
Generally, researchers and scholars in organizational studies recognize the existence of such glass ceiling; they also speak about the impossibility for women to break this ceiling in organizations. That is why the current research paper will be designed to link literature research findings to practical opinions and assumptions, in order to grasp the true meaning of the issue and its social and organizational implications. In the current state of research, a whole set of information sources confirm the negative nature of discrimination, as well as negative implications which glass ceiling carries for women at workplace. For example, Mitra provides an extensive review of the labor market, and the issues which African-American women in management positions experience. Mitra shows that “among supervisors with a high school and college education, black women earn lower wages than black men even after controlling for detailed background, personal, and human capital characteristics” (75). In the same manner, Harris refers to the way women are granted executive positions in politics; it appears that although women have already reached Washington’s political landscape, their political and organizational successes are far from fulfilling, and statistics to which Harris refers is at least disappointing.
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The mere fact that only 131 out of 716 executive positions are being held by women can be used as the basis for further extensive discussion, for nothing else but statistics can shed the light on the major organizational issues and provide unbiased view of the problem. The question is in why being feminine is also associated with being non-professional – the question which Kathleen Jamieson raises in her book Beyond the Double Bind. The truth is in that the more unaccepted women become, the more likely they are to lose control over their careers, lives, and emotions. In their research, Mitra and Singh seek to explain why in the state of Kerala the highest gender development in the country is also associated with the highest levels of violence and suicides experienced by women. Obviously, this is due to women’s unable to realize themselves in professional environments, and due to the image of women as subjective and inferior creatures that they are not simply deprived of a chance to become recognized for their professional achievements, but have to undergo a whole set of physical and moral humiliations. In this context, exploring the true implications of the glass ceiling as well as perceptions women hold toward these obstacles is impossible without creating a set of questions women will be asked to answer. Such questionnaire will be designed in a way that allows creating a holistic picture of the problem. What seems more important is that by creating such questionnaire we will be able to see, whether the glass ceiling truly prevents women from achieving their career goals, or whether women themselves choose to devote their time to family rather than to create favorable workplace environments. Here, it would be appropriate to note that some authors consider opportunities for women to become entrepreneurs – the glass ceiling is one of the major reasons women choose to replace their career ladder ambitions for independent business activity. This is the topic of Schumacher’s discussion and should also be used for the purposes of the current analysis. Moreover, it will be interesting to reconsider the impact, which cultural categories produce on the way women strive to make a good career; in this sense, the research by Woodward and Ozbilgin sheds the light on the way women in western and eastern countries fight with promotion barriers.
Beyond objective factors like discrimination and racism, there are also subjective factors like favoritism, and “the distinction between favor and exclusion operates not only along the traditional lines of gender, class, age, sexual orientation, religion and physical ability, but also along the new dimensions of marriage, networking, safety, mobility, and space” (Woodward & Ozbilgin 329). The discussion of the glass ceiling topic is important in order to look deeper into the reasons that drive the creation of such transparent obstacles. Both primary and secondary data is needed to see whether female beliefs impact their behaviors at workplace and their desire to choose career promotion instead of family privileges. Primary data will help to see whether women are discriminated in reality, and what stereotypes organizations hold regarding professional qualities of women. Certainly, using primary data in research has its benefits and drawbacks, and possible limitations of such information gathering should be taken into account, but in general, it is due to the use of primary data that we can have an insight into the way women are treated at workplace.