Glass Ceiling Fact or Fiction?

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What is the glass ceiling?” “Is it a ceiling made out of glass?” In business, it is defined as “an upper limit to professional advancement, especially as imposed upon women that is not readily perceived or openly acknowledged.” In 1986, journal reporters used the term “glass ceiling” in the newspapers, and they described it as the barriers that limit the advancement of women and minorities. In other words, it is a ceiling based on attitudes, an organization’s stereotypes, or bias that prevents the advancement of women and minorities (a racial, religious or a political group) to high-level positions.

Since the past decade, women and minorities were allowed limited roles in the workplace. Twenty years ago, women made up for 1% of the top management. Twenty-five years ago, women made up for 15% of the management in a company. Now women make up for 45% of the management. Recently, minorities make up for 20% of the senior executives in a company. Only 5% of minorities who are women are senior level managers. Research reveals that women and minorities in various ethnic groups become employed in service industries such as finance, real estate, wholesale, and retail trade. In addition, research also reveals that women and minorities seem to have a greater opportunity for advancement in industries such as telecommunications and businesses. There are more chances of advancement because there is more restructuring and competition in telecommunications and businesses. The management’s perception of men and women (in regular activities) can influence the glass ceiling and create obstacles for women. When a family picture is on a man’s desk, management might believe that he is a responsible family man. If it was on a woman’s desk, management may believe that her family is more important to her than her career. If a man is going to get married or have a baby, management will arrange for a raise. When a woman announces that she is going to have a baby, management might think that the company is going to have more expenses in maternity and benefits. Even when a man talks to his co-workers, management may think that he is talking about how to improve the business. In management’s perspective, if a woman is talks to her co-workers, they assume that she must be gossiping. There are many types of glass ceiling barriers. An example is when management does not create systems, policies, and procedures for developing workplace diversity. Another occasion is when certain people are paid differently while performing the same or similar type of work as others. The last barrier is limited opportunities for advancement to higher positions (decision-making). Women may have started to crack the glass ceiling in fields such as Information Technology, Science, and Finance. Even though women have started cracking the glass ceiling, they have not broken it yet. Recently, only 2% of women are in top management. In order to break the glass ceiling, one must understand the laws related to it, how often it occurs, the companies that are against it, and the prevention of the glass ceiling.

The glass ceiling is major concern. This is why the government enforced many rules in order to prevent unequal treatment towards women and minorities. The three main laws enforced to help with the prevention of discrimination are The Ontario Human Rights Code, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, and Affirmative Action.

Discrimination against females and minorities was a major issue in the past. There have been many changes in today’s world to prevent the glass ceiling from happening. A law that has been enforced is The Ontario Human Rights Code. With this code in place it enables everyone to have equal rights, opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. This code attempts to prevent harassment and discrimination from one’s colour, race, gender, age, and disability at their workplace, in restaurants, hospitals, schools, public transits, stores, and...
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