The Term “Glass Ceiling”

The glass ceiling is a metaphor referring to an invisible barrier that prevents women and minorities from being promoted to managerial and executive level positions within an organization. Coined in the 1970s, the phrase “glass ceiling” has been used to describe the difficulties faced by women when trying to move to higher roles in a male-dominated hierarchy. Today the term remains relevant to women in the workplace. Additionally, those who have ascended to positions of power are then faced with what is known as the “glass cliff,” a woman assuming authority of a company or institution amidst a crisis.

A Crisis in the American Workforce

Investopedia in February shared that statistics show “at the end of 2020, women accounted for 55.9% of the labor force in the U.S. But when it came to chief executive positions, women held only 29.9% of these roles, and 88% of chief executives were White, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

These percentages have dropped in the ensuing years as a result of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted corporate America in ways never before. Although business is not operating as usual, Women in the Workplace shared that “women — especially mothers, senior-level women and Black women — have faced distinct challenges. One in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to Covid-19.” In the hopes the progress women have made within the workplace is not erased, we look to the leaders of corporations, businesses, government, and nonprofits to make decisions that allow increased flexibility as we move forward.

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