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A trick-cyclist in Exeter says that adult females lifting to high leadings places in concern and political relations – so holding broken through the “ glass ceiling ” – are so faced by the extra threat of a “ glass drop ” . Dr Michelle Ryan and co-workers at Exeter Uni lay out their research in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly* . Basically the theory of the “ glass drop ” has it that adult females tend merely to be appointed to senior leading places when the administration to be led faces crisis and everything is likely to travel incorrect, taking to a famine of work forces willing to take the helm.

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In the EU adult females make up merely over 10 per centum of the top executive places in the top 50 publically quoted companies, and in the U.S. female leaders occupy less than 16 per centum of these places in the Fortune 500. As adult females continue to be under-represented in political relations and concern, this stereotype is frequently strengthened and self-perpetuating.

The illustration chosen by Dr Ryan and her confederates in their survey is non concern, nevertheless, but that of election runs for Conservative Party MPs. It seems that in the 2005 election, Tory pickers in safe seats largely put frontward work forces, whereas in constituencies where there was n’t much opportunity of a win they by and large chose adult females – therefore confronting them with the “ glass drop ” of an all but impossible election run.

“ Gender favoritism in political relations can be elusive and hard to place, ” says Ryan. “ Women continue to be under-represented in political office and frequently face a more hard political undertaking than work forces. ”

Her paper, Politicss and the Glass Cliff, can be read here ( subscription merely ) . ®


In instance you were inquiring:

Psychology of Women Quarterly ( PWQ ) is a feminist diary that publishes chiefly qualitative and quantitative research with substantial and theoretical virtue… Topics include… lifespan function development and alteration… physical, sexual, and psychological maltreatment ; force and torment ; bias and favoritism… gender, sexual orientation, and heterosexism… Literary analyses do non fall within the horizon of the diary

Glass ceiling


An unofficial barrier to workplace promotion, normally in respect to adult females or minority groups.


Architectural text editions have many mentions to ceilings made of glass. Of class, that ‘s non what we are interested in here, although the fact that glass ceilings existed in the existent universe did put the basis for the nonliteral phrase.

The term, in the barrier to advancement sense, was used by several authors on the subject of adult females in the corporate workplace during the 1980s. For illustration, Alice Sargent, in an interview about her book ‘The Androgynous Manager ‘ , with the ‘Washington Post ‘ in 1987:

“ Womans in corporate America are knocking their caputs on the glass ceiling. ”

The earliest commendation in print that we can happen is from an article by Nora Frenkiel about magazine editor, Gay Bryant – “ The Up-and-Comers ; Bryant Takes Aim At the Settlers-In. “ , Adweek Special Report ; Magazine World, March, 1984:

“ Womans have reached a certain point — I call it the glass ceiling. They ‘re in the top of in-between direction and they ‘re halting and acquiring stuck. There is n’t adequate room for all those adult females at the top. Some are traveling into concern for themselves. Others are traveling out and raising households. ”

Since going platitude in modern-day linguistic communication it has become by and large applied to obstructions encountered in any field and by any group. For illustration, this piece of economic intelligence from the Daily Telegraph, 1994:

“ After several spirited assaults, the FT-SE ‘s 3200 glass ceiling eventually gave manner yesterday, leting the index to shut aggressively higher after a twenty-four hours of floating. ”

Interrupting the Glass Ceiling Making It to General Management

She came to us from another company. She was recruited as the highest-level adult female we had. Not long after we hired her, I had the chance to speak to her former foreman at a cocktail party. “ You knocked off a large 1, ” he said. “ She was one of the quickest surveies I of all time had—perceptive, bright, goal-oriented—and I hated to lose her! ”

Soon after, we were in a policy meeting together. I heard her speak and watched her actions. She made an first-class first feeling ; she seemed to have on good. She was intelligent, bright. I had a really positive feeling toward her. I was truly impressed with her ability to take a tough base. Subsequently, when her name was in for a higher-level slot, she won out easy over two men—she was balanced all the manner around.

She makes her people of import. She has a really unfastened manner and communicates clearly to subsidiaries. She ‘s just and hence extremely respected by people.

She has been able to work with tonss of high-ranking people to acquire things done. The president is enamored of her and has given her tonss of particular attending. She has a great grade of snap, great cool under force per unit area. In 50 corporate scenes, I ‘ve merely seen her lose her cool two times—most would lose it one clip out of five. She ‘s really controlled. She would acquire as many strong ballots [ for higher executive places ] as anyone else.

Has the glass ceiling been shattered?

Marks and Spencer president Sir Stuart Rose has sparked argument after claiming adult females have “ ne’er had it so good ” in the workplace, stating there is no ground why they should non do it to the top of any profession they choose.

Does the glass ceiling still be? New equality figures reveal adult females are one time once more losing out to work forces in the workplace

By Laura Moss, Lucy Lawrence, Laura Topham, Rachel Porter and Justine Smith Last updated at 7:23 AM on 05th September 2008

Remarks ( – )

Add to My Narratives

The alleged glass ceiling has become a ‘reinforced concrete ‘ one, with the figure of adult females employed in senior places falling over the past twelvemonth, harmonizing to a new survey reported in the Mail yesterday. So why – after 30 old ages of feminism – are things acquiring worse? We asked a series of authors and observers, all leaders in their field.

Fay Weldon, 76, is a feminist author who began her calling as the copywriter who coined the term ‘go to work on an egg ‘ in the Sixties. She has four boies and lives in North-west London, with her hubby. She says:

To me, the glass ceiling exists merely for adult females with kids – non because they ‘re discriminated against but because adhering with babes creates a ageless maternal anxiousness which you can ne’er turn off.

It stops you concentrating to the full and makes your function as a female parent more of import than any other duty.

I had kids early so I have ne’er known any different, but I remember how difficult go forthing them was when they clung tightly to my legs. It ‘s non rational – of class, kids are absolutely safe at nursery – but I still felt guilty.

It used to be that work forces considered adult females sloppy and unqualified, but I think those positions are long gone. Today ‘s workplace challenges are non the mistake of work forces – there ‘s no promale secret plan, it ‘s merely adult females ‘s physiology. Women pride themselves on multi-tasking, but this is their ruin as their head birr about with so many concerns. Work force can wholly exchange off other things and concentrate on the undertaking at manus – which helps them accomplish more at work. I think adult females are n’t promoted because they do n’t use for publicity: they do n’t desire the longer hours, conveying more strain and more emphasis. New equality figures show adult females are still losing out in the workplace despite 30 old ages worth of work to get the better of the ‘glass ceiling ‘ They do n’t desire that excess duty because they already have adequate duty as a female parent. Women want a secure place and a good work-life balance, but most work forces do n’t believe like that. Before holding kids, work can make full your life without any practical or emotional troubles, but every bit shortly as your first kid is born it will weigh on your head and impact your calling focal point.

In the Nineties, I noticed that male dramatists were given bigger budgets by Television companies and theaters than female authors, which frequently put me at a fiscal disadvantage. But frequently it is adult females who discriminate more than work forces – I find work forces travel out of their manner to avoid being tarnished with sexism, but adult females are competitory and do n’t experience the demand for equity so keenly. Dragons ‘ Den star Duncan Bannatyne, 59, started out selling ice picks but went on to do a luck from Quality Care Homes, which he sold for ?46million in 1996. He now owns Bannatyne, the state ‘s largest independent wellness nine concatenation. He says: It makes no difference to me whether my directors are male or female, but for every senior station I advertise I have 15 males for every female applier. I have no thought why. I wish more adult females were in concern so that they can make full these stations, so I would pass less clip questioning people and less money publicizing the places.

I have ne’er seen any illustrations of jingoism in an office environment – it must be in a little manner because it ‘s mentioned a batch in the media, but it does n’t be in my office. I have ne’er come across a female friend, associate or otherwise who has felt they were a victim of sexism in the workplace. So no, I do n’t believe the glass ceiling exists, ne’er mind a strengthened concrete one. Business is non male-dominated. Every grownup in this state is able to get down, run and ain abusiness regardless of their gender. But I ‘ve frequently wondered why there are more work forces in concern than adult females. Womans are every bit good as work forces. I ‘m non the least spot concerned about adult females desiring to take pregnancy leave. It ‘s something I ‘ve factored into my concern costs. I ‘d ne’er desire to maintain my figure of adult females employees down because of pregnancy leave costs. But I do believe we should be more cognizant of the maltreatment of the revenue enhancement system. One adult female I employed went on pregnancy leave. I was happy to pay, but she went to Australia.

We all knew she was n’t coming back and I had to maintain directing taxpayer ‘s money to Australia. It ‘s incorrect, and it ‘s a cost to us all. But I ‘m by and large happy with the pregnancy leave Torahs in this state. I do n’t believe you can be a successful concern individual here and be unhappy with the concern Torahs. Lorraine Heggessey, 51, became the first adult female accountant of BBC1 in 2000. She is now the main executive of talkbackTHAMES, one of the state ‘s largest Television production companies. Lorraine lives in West London with her hubby and two teenage girls. She says: Yes – the glass ceiling does be. But my advice is this: it ‘s a crystalline concept, so look through it and move as though it ‘s non at that place. Work forces have reasonably much tally everything – from authorities to banking and even the media – and still make, for the most portion. Womans are comparatively new to concern and are developing their behavior and assurance. My theory is that work forces apply for occupations two old ages before they ‘re ready and adult females apply two old ages subsequently than they ought to. Men do n’t let their deficiency of experience to acquire in the manner, whereas adult females must experience that they are wholly prepared for a occupation and that they ‘ve ticked all the boxes.

But one time adult females do acquire these occupations, they tend to be really successful at them because they are wholly ready for the function. Men are conditioned non to let their deficiency of assurance to smother their advancement ; adult females merely take longer to accept that they ‘re ready for the following round on the ladder. I ‘ve ne’er witnessed a adult females seeking to undermine another adult females ‘s advancement at work. In fact, I find adult females really supportive, and have appointed many adult females into senior places. Womans tend to be more collaborative and work more co-operatively than work forces, who are driven by competition. Our function in society is to be fostering enablers as female parents, and I think we bring that to the workplace. But the thrust and concentrate common among work forces is besides really good to a company, which is why I would ever take to work with a mixture of the sexes. I ‘ve loved working for both male and female foremans. I merely want to work for the best people whatever their gender. Nicola Horlick, 47, is one of Britain ‘s best-known businesswomen, nicknamed Superwoman for keeping down a high-octane City occupation while raising a household. She lives with hubby Martin Baker in Central London, with her five kids from a old matrimony. She says: Womans are no less successful today than antecedently – in fact, there are now more female than male millionaires. It is merely that many adult females are turning their dorsum on working for big concerns and going more entrepreneurial. Finding the workplace excessively inflexible to suit round a household, more and more adult females are puting up their ain concerns because working for themselves fits better with maternity.

Womans are besides taking more flexible, familyfriendly occupations in sectors such as PR and publication. The alterations we ‘ve witnessed do n’t reflect adult females being disadvantaged, they merely show a greater desire for control over their lives. Personally, I ‘ve ne’er experienced any favoritism. Clearly, no glass ceiling blocked me – I was in charge of a major City bank by the clip I was 28. I ‘ve ne’er considered gender an issue ; in a male-dominated industry I stood out, so being female was really more of an advantage than a disadvantage. Becoming a female parent when I was 25 did n’t alter my calling, but so I was lucky to hold tonss of support with child care from my female parent and a nursemaid. Plus, as the City markets near at 4.30pm, I do n’t necessitate to be at my desk late – I can still acquire place and see my childs. The playing field does get down degree for work forces and adult females, but one time you have kids to look after it becomes uneven. With good child care and a sensible employer there should be no jobs, but in Britain childcare proviso merely is n’t good plenty. Ruth Badger, 30, was the second best on the 2nd series of The Apprentice. She now helps turn neglecting companies into successes on Sky One ‘s Badger Or Bust, and has her ain consultancy house based in Didsbury, Manchester, where she lives. She says:

No 1 could set a ceiling above me that I would n’t nail through. Successful adult females do n’t admit barriers, whether you believe they exist for other adult females. The company I left, before fall ining The Apprentice, took me on as a junior director and I finally rose so far that I was the lone adult female in the company to make full such a senior place. During that clip I out-performed all my equals – work forces and adult females likewise – through sheer difficult work and public presentation. Success in the workplace is based every bit on public presentation every bit good as on your capacity to verbally show your accomplishments. If I walked into an interview, I would be able to speak extensively about my strengths. I ‘m really cognizant of my ain abilities and that ‘s important in the workplace. I ‘ve yet to run into a shy and retiring adult female working in gross revenues, selling or PR. But I ‘ve noticed that office staff or those in administrative functions tend to be less vocal than their male opposite numbers. The worst people for adult females in concern are adult females. A female co-worker I one time worked with made it her figure one aim to acquire to cognize me. She invited me for dinner, I believe, as a manner of acquiring me out of the workplace so that she could grill me for information. She did n’t act the same manner with the work forces in the company and evidently felt that, as a adult female, I was a menace to her place.

Michelle Mone, 36, is the co-founder of MJM International and Godhead of Ultimo, one of the UK ‘s most successful interior decorator lingerie trade names. She lives in Glasgow with her hubby and three kids. She says: The job for adult females in concern is non work forces – it ‘s their ain deficiency of assurance. Females fear rejection in a manner that work forces do n’t, and that ‘s the ground they ca n’t force through the supposed ‘glass ceiling ‘ . Think of this: would a mousey, diffident but absolutely capable adult female acquire overlooked in favor of her loud-mouthed but less qualified male co-worker? Every clip. That said, I do n’t believe a adult female has to act like a adult male in order to acquire in front, but you do hold to be self-asserting, passionate and determined. And frequently, adult females are better at that manner of carry oning concern than a adult male.

If anything, it is the adult females who create their ain glass ceilings and sometimes that can be because they want to – because of their households. For, despite keeping down a high-octane occupation, adult females will still ever be expected to make or supervise child care, shopping, cleansing and schooling. Last dark, for illustration, I was on a conference call to my providers in China and my mill here while functioning up my kids ‘s nutrient and seeking to press my outfit for the following twenty-four hours. My hubby would ne’er be able to make that in a million old ages. Besides, adult females who are captive on griping about each other in the workplace create glass ceilings. I ‘m horror-stricken how atrocious adult females can be to one another in concern, and I ‘ve been on the receiving terminal. Without wishing to sound vain, the job tends to be even worse if you ‘re attractive. Womans seem to hold a covetous run that work forces merely do n’t hold. Too frequently a adult female gets to the top in a maledominated environment and so does nil to assist her ain sex because she sees them as a menace.

Possibly more businesswomen should gain that females working together can be far more effectual and powerful than those at each other ‘s pharynxs. AvivahWittenbery-Cox is co-author of Why Women Mean Business, and CEO of 20-First gender consultancy. She says: All this talk about the glass ceiling does n’t assist work out the existent jobs confronting the female work force. The phrase implies that we adult females lift up and up through the ranks without any problem at all, until all of a sudden we find our way is blocked. In fact, when you look closely at companies all over the universe – but peculiarly in Britain, where authorities policy does little to back up double income twosomes – you ‘ll see that the figure of adult females dwindles a little more with every measure up the calling ladder. The glass ceiling is a false belief. For old ages companies have tried to make the right thing. They have introduced a whole raft of what I call ‘fix the adult females ‘ schemes – directing us on leading programmes or assertiveness preparation.

They give female employees excess support, as if doing up for some built-in weakness. But I say: ‘Stop that! The job is non with adult females but work forces. ‘ I do n’t favor positive favoritism of any sort – I do n’t believe adult females should be given top occupations on a quota footing – but I believe work forces benefit from positive favoritism in ways that are so entrenched in our on the job universe we hardly even detect them. Most top companies, for illustration, have a policy to descry ‘high potency ‘ employees between the ages of 30 and 35. Yet this is precisely when ambitious adult females are most likely to be holding kids. While their male co-workers are being fast-tracked, a batch of adult females are on pregnancy leave, or hardly kiping through the darks because of immature kids. When this became common company pattern back in the Fiftiess, it was n’t designed as a male chauvinist policy. But efficaciously, of class, that ‘s what it is.

Today, adult females account for more than half of university alumnuss and more than half of the top endowment in concern. Yet so much of the corporate universe remains a topographic point where adult females can merely win if they act like work forces. For a batch of adult females, that ‘s merely unsympathetic. I ‘m a female parent of two and like a batch of adult females I ‘m ‘horizontally ambitious ‘ . Womans do n’t needfully desire to acquire to the top, they want to be first-class at everything they do, as female parent, girl, married woman, girlfriend, professional and voluntary. I ‘m every bit ambitious as a female parent as I am as a professional. INTERVIEWS by Laura Moss, Lucy Lawrence, Laura Topham, Rachel Porter and Justine Smith.

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