Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

Since the beginning of humanity, both genders have been held to different standards and were meant to serve different purposes. In the late 1970s, the term “glass ceiling” emerged and has been a part of our vocabulary. But what exactly is the glass ceiling and how does it manifest itself today ?

Coined by Marilyn Loden, at the time management consultant, during a 1979 panel on the topic of women’s aspirations, the expression was meant to explain the social barrier making women trail back behind their male counterparts. Over the past four decades, the term and its definition have evolved and have been used in different contexts, but the common definition refers to an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions.

While there has been a lot of improvements in women’s advancement in the workplace, the glass ceiling is still very much in place. According to 2020 statistics from the UN, only 28% of managers and 18% of chief executive officers are women. While women are not kept back by specific organizational rules, expectations are mostly what keep women from breaking that glass ceiling nowadays. Based on a 2018 University of Chicago Business School study the expectation and the logistics of childcare is one of the main factors that keep women out of higher positions.

While women have fought for progress and equality, the glass ceiling is still a very real societal barrier women have to deal with.

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