Gender Discrimination: The Glass ceiling effect
The mind set of the patriarchal society which is traditional is predisposed to practice discrimination on the basic rights of women. This term normally applies to women in workplaces who are unfairly paid lowly unlike the males, though they are both doing the same work. Glass ceiling is used to refer to discrimination which is done on the basis of gender, limiting women to inferiority and harassment by the society. The society which is stereotypical accepts the domination that is practiced on women resulting to weakening a woman both physically and mentally (Wirth, 2001).
Discrimination on the basis of gender and sexism are both classified under the glass ceiling. A review that was carried out in America recently, showed that 95 percent of managers in senior positions in the 1000 industrial corporations in the top fortunate are men. To add salt to the injury, 97 percent of all the top managers are whites bringing about the issue of racial biasness. The latest idea of glass ceiling is the use of feminism which dates back to the 80s where the authors who were females rewrote literature that was widely dominated by men and made a demand to be accorded equal rights.
The glass ceiling plea theme was recently used by Hilary Clinton when participating in the last elections held in America (Wirth, 2001). Gender Discrimination: The Glass ceiling effect The glass ceiling effect gained a lot of popularity in the field of corporations and as early as 1986 when the Wall Street Journal did a promotion on it. The journal gave a full description on the conflict aroused by the denial of high positions in the corporate, experienced by qualified women who were paid less for doing similar jobs than their male counterparts.
Some of the female writers coined this phrase as they felt the treatment they got from America was compared to bumping of heads on a glass ceiling without getting any results. Many female activists stressed that women found themselves stuck in the middle of the corporate ladder and the room at the top was limited forcing women to start their own businesses or quitting taking care of their families (Gary et al, 1994). Sexual harassment and exploitation in work places, marks the glass ceiling effect at places of work. Women can be driven to great heights of insecurity by male conduct at places of work.
The Civil Right Acts enacted in 1964 in America accords equality in treatment of all human beings at places of work or employment. The law bars discrimination on the bases of race, sex, gender, religion, and color. There is an enormous progress by women in entry to managerial ranks in America, but they are yet to reach the top levels. According to a research done by the Department of Labor in America, there was an increase by 16 percent of female managers’ between1970 and 1992 (Gary et al, 1994). The number in 1992 reached 42 percent.
However, the number of those in top management experienced a slight increase in the last century. In 1979 it was recorded to be below three percent and by 1991 it was still below 5 percent. All with an exception of one Chief Executive Officer in the companies listed in the top 1000 in the Business week in 1992 were men. The glass ceiling was seen as a barrier which was transparent and prevented women from penetrating certain levels in the corporate world. The barrier is seen as targeting women to deny them advancement on the basis of their sex and not on their inability to perform the jobs in those top levels of the corporation.
The Labor Department in America describes the glass ceiling as barriers which are artificial based on the attitude and biasness of an organization that blocks individuals who are qualified from an upward advancement within the organization (Gary et al, 1994). There are multiple challenges that are faced by women involved in law enforcement at their work places. It becomes quite difficult for them especially when lewd jokes are shared at work places restricting women from participation and portraying them like sexual objects (Meistrich, 2009).
There is a general perception that in battles or during emergency, men should always be put in the frontline and women should refrain, as they cannot handle the danger well. Many officers who belong to the older generations still insist that women should be restricted to the reception or nursing, but should not be actively involved in the battle. The code of silence present in many agencies of the law enforcement normally bars women from reporting this harassment. Women normally receive retaliation that is so severe if they make a mistake of reporting any misconduct as they are seen to break the code of silence.
Women normally get pestered for dates by senior officers and sexual favors are demanded from them to ensure they get better assignments in work. Equal opportunities are non existence in the leadership of criminal justice (Meistrich, 2009). There is a lot of harassment, intimidation and discrimination that women are subjected to in law enforcement forces as they struggle to reach the echelon of their careers. There are a lot of barriers experienced by women police officers even in higher ranks in their ascendance to reach the level of the chief officer.
Lindsay Hall, who is a victim of discrimination in 2008, had a lot of experience from working for Bonneville Power Administration which is a federal agency located in Oregon. She was a wildlife biologist who strongly believed that a promotion was forthcoming due to her excellent performance and good work record. The agency personnel department, which did a review on the highest ranking candidates cut Lindsay name out of the pool of applicants (Waldref, 2008). This had commonly happened to her and she had always lost to a male applicant who had less field experience than hers.
Six years prior to this incidence, Lindsay with another colleague who was also a woman had been denied a chance in dealing with a policy of the hydro system on Colombia River, although they were both qualified and had experience in this. Lindsay’s colleague had based her master’s thesis on the hydro system of the Columbia River and thus she was better versed with this policy. However, the position was awarded to a man with less experience and a degree holder of social sciences (Waldref, 2008).
Lindsay filed a complaint with the agency and she gained access to the personal documents which were held in confidence. She was shocked to learn that she had been ranked lower than the man who took the position despite her experience and job relevance. Hall mistrusts the agency completely and she is very demoralized in doing her job. Linda complains that men who are young can easily rise within the agency unlike women who have devoted most of their years working there. Pregnancy and the bias to motherhood have prevented the women from breaking the glass ceiling (Waldref, 2008).
The Supreme Court added salt to the injury as it has restricted women from suing an employer for payment of discrimination. It was decided by the majority that suing can only occur if they file a complaint which is formal with the federal agency. This complaint is supposed to be filed within 180 days since the pay which is discriminatory was set. Information about salary is privileged and women may not access all the information on whether they were less paid and time may run out (Waldref, 2008).
The congress tried to redress this decision by the court but they received a lot of hostility from the males. The republicans elicited most of the hostility though the female senators fought hard and are hoping to resurrect this matter soon though their numbers are few in the congress. There are many reasons given for the limited progression experienced by women such as: barriers by institutions, the expectations by mangers currently, organizational cultures that are male dominated and the division of labor within the society among others.
Many cultures that exist within an organization always link the traits of a manager with men behaviors as per the tradition. A study carried out by (Gary et al, 1994), found that the effects of gender that are persistent undermines a woman’s effort to exert the full authority accorded to a manager. The managers’ effort is undercut by those below her and there is an assumption that the competence of women is lower than that of men. This factor greatly contributes to the few women found in the senior management levels, as they are seen to be less competent than their male counterparts (Simone and peter, 1997).
There is a perception that people at the top need to be tough to steer the company to great levels of success. Women are seen to exhibit a lot fragility and indecisiveness that will lead the company to collapse. There is also the general fear by the Board of Governors that a woman cannot negotiate a business deal with a male from another company as she can be easily conned. Also, sending a woman to represent a company in meetings involving other business will portray a bad picture, as the rest of the senior managers will look down upon the males working for that company (Simone and Peter, 1997).
The definition of performance will always be within the male definitions and this is likely to bar women from excelling in the reviews done on performance within the organization. In 1993 Marshall confirmed that the change in culture normally experiences a lot of resistance. This change targets the equal provision to opportunities and it has faced a lot of resilience in the effort to change it. Most culture is laced with male values of dominance and it very common for a woman to prove their performance on a benchmark that has been put by the men (Simone and Peter, 1997).
This bench mark is normally taken by the management as its own standard of measuring women performance. This culture restricts women from having equal rights and this is clearly shown by the styles of communication and the politics discussed in the office as they normally discriminate against women. The ideas that women put forward in the office will receive a lot of resistance unless they tow the line of the prospective that the males have. The progression within an organization leans towards the networking that is done informally (Simone and Peter, 1997).
The informal networks exclude women and will revolve around events that are social such as sports and drinking which are mainly activities that men indulge in. The success in careers with informal networks as the corner stone, discriminates women as they are restricted from accessing them contributing to the stalling of their careers midway. The clubs that are attended by the old boys in Britain act profoundly into barring women from getting into top managements.
The women attempt to build their careers from the formal settings but their efforts are greatly thwarted as they do not have access to these informal places where they can easily network. Decisions that are important to the company are often made in the informal gatherings, completely shutting out managers who are female out of the process of making decisions (Simone and Peter, 1997). A study carried out to assess the progression of women doctors in United Kingdom in 1999, showed that the number of women enrollment to medical school was on the increase during the three previous decades (McManus and Sporton, 1999).
Hospital medicine, gynecology and obstetrics had a fewer number of women who went beyond the grade of SHO. The anaesthetics had the greatest deficit in women at all the stages of the career. The promotions in some fields are not proportional and men still get the largest share of them showing the glass ceiling effect in the medical field (McManus and Sporton, 1999). A study that was carried by Nordam, et al. (2009) in France using data from work firms in 1992 showed the glass ceiling effect more clearly.
The researchers wanted to ascertain that women who have better qualification are offered wages that are way lower than those of men in the same position. The study involved 14,000 employers and 130,000 employees, so the results produced were reliable and precise, due to the wide array of data used. After analysis, the study showed clearly that the wage policies which were specific in all firms greatly reduced the gap of the earnings of genders at the top most levels. This gap was higher in the top levels than those at the bottom.
This clearly shows that women who are better qualified and at the top of the corporate ladder, experience more disparity in their salaries than those who are in the middle or the bottom of the ladder (Nordam, et al. 2009). Although women have made an achievement by attaining education at high levels, their efforts continue going unnoticed as their share in positions of management are way below the acceptance levels. Their representation in the workforce globally is estimated to be around 40 percent, yet their representation at the top, in corporations remain negligible.
There is a lot of occupational segregation existing within management which locks out many women in certain areas within the top. The jobs, that are referred to as “women jobs” always have a very low market value, although they are quite taxing and difficult (Wirth, 2001). It is evident that women supply the workforce with half of its participants but they continue experiencing limitations in their mobility. There is a tendency of women to be occupants of the middle and low positions in many organizations.
In America, 85 percent of clerical work is done by women and the Senior Executives in the federal government only have 13 percent of women. This is very unfair since women contributed greatly to the growth of the force of net labor by two third and thus it is vital to increase their proportion at the top levels of executive management (Wirth, 2001). Sexual discrimination in America has been present since time immemorial and proper laws that prohibit its occurrence in both the private and public sectors have never been enforced.
This is a major barrier towards progression of women to the top. Several Acts have been enacted such as: the Equal Employment Opportunity (EOO) in 1972 and the Civil Rights Act (CRA) in 1964, which aimed at prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex (Mani, 1997). However, these Acts did not assist in providing a solution to this discrimination as the development of careers in women has been lagging behind the men’s for a decade. The decade of Ronald Reagan saw the EEO enforcement being slowed down and almost halted.
Bush complained that he received weak support when he signed the Civil Rights Act in 1991. This shows that the administration and subsequent governments have been unwilling to address the issue of sex discrimination which has been detrimental in the growth of careers among women (Mani, 1997). A study that was done by the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2002 brought into light the effects of the glass ceiling as by then 8 counties had elected women to head their states. The deputy heads who were women amounted to 21 and 13-4 percent of parliamentarians in the world were women.
The trade union leaders had a single percentage of women leaders although 40 percent of women contributed to the membership of these unions globally (Wirth, 2002). Fields that are dominated by females such as education and health always have men at the top of the management which guarantees them better salaries than the women. Conclusion It is very evident that the glass ceiling effect continues to limit women in most positions of power in corporations and countries in the world. Women have made tremendous efforts to improve their careers through education but their efforts are thwarted by the discrimination that they experience.
This unfair treatment has denied women what is rightfully theirs as they continue being stuck in the middle or the bottom of the corporate ladder. Putting artificial barriers to limit women from progression in careers is grossly unfair as it interferes with their mental well being. References: Gary, N. et al. (1994). Investigating the glass ceiling phenomenon: An empirical study of actual promotions to top management. Academy Management Publishers Mani, G. (1997). Gender and the federal senior executive service: Where is the glass ceiling. Public Personnel Management, Vol. 26 McManus, I. & Sporton, K.
(1999). Women in hospital medicine in the United Kingdom: Glass ceiling, preference: Journal of Epidemiology and Community health, prejudice or cohort effect. BMJ publishing group Meistrich, M. (2009). Politics and the Glass Ceiling in Law Enforcement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Royal York, Toronto, Nordam, C. et al. (2009). Theory and evidence on the glass ceiling effect using matched worker-firm data, development, institutions & Analyses de Long terme Simone, J. & peter, S. (1997). Glass ceiling effect or sticky floors. Curtin University of Technology
Waldref, J. (2008). Women at work find reinforced glass ceilings. Retrieved April 23, 2009 from http://www. womensenews. org/article. cfm/dyn/aid/3663/ Wirth, L. (2001). Breaking through the glass ceiling: Women in management (paper buck). International Labor Office Wirth, L. (2002), Breaking through the glass ceiling: Women in management, retrieved on April 23, 2009 from http://74. 125. 47. 132/search? q=cache:JrNB_pZHZqAJ:www. gouvernement. lu/salle_presse/actualite/2002/02/04jacobsbiltgen/wirth. pdf+books+on+Gender+Discrimination–The+Glass+ceiling+effect. &cd=12&hl=en&ct=clnkSample Essay of EduBirdie.com