The Glass Ceiling Is Cracking Essay, Research Paper
The glass ceiling is an invisible barrier in organizations that prevents many women and minorities from achieving top-level management positions. In 1995, the Glass Ceiling Commission released its first report and found that only 5 percent of the senior-level managers in Fortune 1000 companies are women. This report identified three barriers to the advancement of women and minorities:
1. Societal barriers exist that are likely outside the control of business.
2. Internal structural barriers are present that are under the direct control of business, including recruitment policies and corporate cultures.
3. There are governmental barriers such as insufficient monitoring and enforcement
Taking care of the family is a major reason why women don’t advance as fast as men. “We don’t play golf on Saturday mornings” (Diana Bennett, president of D.L. Bennett & Associates). Whereas men may informally move up the ladder during a golf game, women are likely to be doing house chores and spending time with the kids.
Bennett suggests that instead of playing golf on Saturdays, women should join civic, charitable, and business boards in order to work their way up. “But if you’re going to join a board, be involved, (Business Journal).
Avery small number of women believe that the so-called glass ceiling can be broken. One of them is Carly Fiorina who took over Hewlett-Packard, becoming the first women CEO of a Dow 30 firm. She prefers that the focus be on her considerable achievements as an executive with AT&T and not because of her sex.
According to an industry panel, the glass ceiling for women in banking remains, but is weakening. Indeed “there is a glass ceiling in a lot of companies still”, said Judith Dunn Fisher, who broke through April 1 when she was promoted to chief financial officer at Huntington Bancshares Inc. The fact is that just recently the value of women and their ability to contribute to a company is being recognized.
A study discovered that for women, software engineering is one of the best fields to be in, as the demand greatly outweighs the supply. So if one has the ability to program and keep up with technology, “there’s no glass ceiling,” said Huey-shin Yuan, a principal engineer in the software development at Mountain View-based Consilium Inc. The study also stated that women in engineering earn slightly more than their male colleagues, but women make only about 5 to 6 percent of all employed engineers.
KeyCorp executive Karen R. Haefling agrees that there is a glass ceiling, but urges women to be more assertive in seeking out opportunities to build their resumes. “I would encourage (women) to ask for positions. Let everybody know that you have ambitions and that you want to have opportunities to nm a line of business”(Business First).
The evidence clearly shows that the glass ceiling is still present in many companies. But there are occasions that show it can be broken through, such as with Bennett, Fiorina, Fisher, and Haefling. These women say that it’s very possible to break through the glass ceiling and into higher-level management as they did. They provide signs of encouragement to other women and strongly suggest taking chances, being noticed, and
getting involved. It takes time and sacrifice to succeed into upper level management. “People have to see if you can do it before they take a chance with you”, says Haefling.(Business First)
Maybe most women don’t break through the ceiling because they don’t want to play by the rules and be like men. This is probably because they’re programmed differently. Business Journal offers some guidelines that may help break through the ceiling.
1. Develop clarity about yourself and your goals. This clarity will help set realistic expectations and stay on the course when it gets rocky.
2. Work on the knack of being different from the group around you while staying part of the group.
3. Learn to remain calm and soothing while those around you are anxious and loosing their cool.
4. Take risks whenever it seems appropriate and embrace change.
5. Make decisions quickly and communicate them clearly.
6. Be competent, knowledgeable and within reason, achievement-oriented.
It will surely take some time before the glass ceiling is gone. It takes time for people to adjust, but there are sure signs that “…the glass ceiling has some cracks in it…” says Judith Fisher.
Today companies are changing their ways of business to eliminate glass ceilings. This step is a reactive one. Companies have realized that discriminating against the promotion of women and minorities can be extremely costly, as court cases have shown, and very unethical. The value of women and their contributions to their companies has just recently been recognized. Change is definitely taking place. The glass ceiling is cracking as more and more women are promoted to jobs that otherwise would have been filled by men