Breaking Thru the Glass Cieling
Submitted By mpages720
Breaking thru the Glass Ceiling
GEB 452 Organizational Ethics
For too many women, discrimination still plays a role in the jobs they get, the wages they are paid, and the promotions they receive. The base of this paper is on the ‘glass ceiling’ metaphor, which is the invisible barriers women experience in their rising career, which prevents them from reaching the top of an organization or making it difficult to get there. Even though we have come a long way from how it was fifty years ago it’s undeniable that women still today are not accepted as an equal. Most women seem under-represented in upper management levels in many companies and getting paid less for the same work done by men. This paper will examine some of the obstacles that women have to face during their climb on the corporate ladder and once they arrive. I will also discuss how the gender discrimination has improved thru the years and explain what women are doing to try to break thru the glass ceiling.
The Glass Ceiling
Women have come a long way during the past century. They have flown alone across the Atlantic Ocean, they have been given the right to vote, they have gone in a rocket into space and they have even been elected to Congress. Even though all they hold all these achievements, women are still facing barriers and gender discrimination in the workplace. It has been shown that even if a woman has received the proper education and credentials, they are often not considered for the same job as a male with either equal or less credentials. This has created a greater gap in the income wage gap. Studies have shown that women without high school diplomas, on average, have an effective income less than that of men with equal education levels and years of work experience. (http://www.now.org/issues/economic/factsheet.html)
Even though we have come so far, women are still not treated as equal like man in all aspects in the workplace. One of the obstacles they face is not being promoted to top executive positions. This is not a myth. Women who hold professional and managerial positions have found that despite their remarkable professional qualifications and educational backgrounds, they are unable to advance through the "ranks" to top levels in an organization or company. This is known as the "glass ceiling" and further refers to difficulties women have rising to the top of the corporate ladder. When the studies are made, women are just not in the top of the list as leaders and top executives in big corporations. There was study conducted by Catalyst that found “that 136 of the Fortune 500 companies had no women executives. Among those with no women were Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Citigroup, Costco Wholesale and Sears.” (http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/13/us-women-boardrooms) One of the main issues is that the people in charge of promoting are men and they are only promoting from within the “men network”. This becomes so frustrating because it’s difficult to see someone with the same experience, qualifications, knowledge and education get hired or promoted to the job because they are a different gender from you.
Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, also known as the Glass Ceiling Act of 1991, was created because women "remain underrepresented in management and decision making positions in business." It further explains that artificial barriers exist and the there is a lack of access to "credential building developmental opportunities. Title II established a commission to research and report on the glass ceiling effect and possible remedies. Although Title II recognizes the "glass ceiling" that exists, it does not make it unlawful. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in employment practices, including promotion, based on a person's gender. It is under this law that claims of sex-based discrimination should be made. Another obstacle that women are facing is the difference in their compensation. According to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, in 2005, women's median earnings were 81 percent that of men. Although 43.6 percent of women were full time wage and salary earners, they only made up 31 percent of the highest earnings. These statistics are indicative of decades of unequal compensation among men and women. This pattern of discrimination prompted the passing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The EPA makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in compensation, among men and women. More specifically, it requires that men and women, who hold similar positions, have similar skills and perform similar job duties, are given equal pay. Even though this act states equality in the pay, the reality is that many are not paid equally.
Before Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to prohibit discrimination in employment based on race, sex, religion, national origin, or color, women had very little protection from discrimination in the workplace. Women have come a long way and it’s been a difficult journey to be where we are today. To reach where they are today, they have expanded their career objectives. Women are no longer limited to working traditional female jobs such as education or nursing. We have seen the incorporation of women into what previously was a male dominated field such as accounting, medicine, law, and etc. Mentoring is now seen as an excellent method of integrating women into the business world. Companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers are developing networking circles to allow their female employees to share knowledge with other females. Online mentoring and co-mentoring are other options being developed to assist women. Overcoming wage gap differences can be difficult because most women are starting out at a disadvantage, and to try to close the gender gap is often impossible. Learn to negotiate and ask for what you deserve. Women should not settle for what they are offered. Instead, they should research the market value for their skills. The human resources department is a great place to start because they can determine where someone falls within the company’s established salary range for each position based upon education, years of experience, and number of years with the company. Besides the above recommendation, throughout my research, I found a website, www. Internationalwomensday.com. which I feel is an excellent resourceful site for women. March 8th is Women’s Day all over the world. This website has numerous events for women tall over the world to network and basically inspire each other to break thru the glass ceiling not just on the holiday, but thru out the whole year. It gives women wonderful resources to fight their battle in workplace. Over the years, women have made marginal gains in their share of professional and managerial positions. The slow pace of progress still appears to be mainly attributable to men not believing that women can do their job. Even with the laws and acts that has been put in place and modified to protect the women from being discriminated against, it’s still happening. I will agree not as much as it was years ago but it still a long and bumpy road before we achieve in breaking thru the glass ceiling.
Conclusion While there are indication that women managers are doing better than they were in the past, the glass ceiling seems to be firmly in place. Today we can proudly say that in Fortunes top 500 companies; eighteen of their CEO’s are women. I consequently faced discrimination on my pay wage and did not know what to do then only get out it. After this research paper, I feel empowered to take on the obstacles that are still ahead for me in climbing the corporate ladder. I hope I make it to the top and get paid equally for it. I are hopeful that this new perspective on women being able to have the opportunity to be in a top position with a fair wage, prompt better practices, remove the barriers, and help women shatter the glass ceiling.
Women Economy (2012, May 29) http://www.now.org/issues/economic/factsheet.html
Women still facing glass ceiling in 2010: (2012, May 29) studyhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/13/us-women-boardrooms- idUSTRE6BC49X20101213
United States Department of Labor Statistics (2012, May 29) www.dol.gov/wb/stats/stats_data.htm
International Women’s Day (2012, May 29) http://internationalwomensday.com
Fortunes top 500 (2012, May 29) http://fortune.com
Can Women Executives Break the Glass Ceiling (2012, May 29) http://www.pdinh.com/lib/misc/CanWomenExecBreakGlassCeiling.pdf