What is the glass ceiling?
The glass ceiling metaphor refers to genuine issues concerning access to certain positions, networks, opportunities, status and resources. It can exist at different levels within an organisation, whether at the top or at the lower levels of progress within the structure. Here are some of the factors that make up the ‘glass ceiling’:
- Negative stereotypes of women, due to prejudices
- Recruitment practices that hire in the traditional management image
- Recruitment practices for executive positions are not transparent
- The perception that women are not willing to meet the demands of leadership, such as travel, long working hours or living abroad
- Limited opportunities for flexible working at senior and executive levels
- Women have limited access to the networks and support that enhances promotion opportunities into senior positions
- Women are held to different social or professional standards to those of their male counterparts.
The business case for women in management
There is a strong business case for increasing the numbers of women in senior and board level positions.
- Women are an untapped and diverse talent pool.
- Women are professionals.
- The female style of leadership supports broader decision-making and collaboration with diverse groups in the workplace.
- Where companies have a large female customer base, those customers are more attracted to organisations that have role models of women holding senior executive positions at the top.
- Diversity is also important for the reputation, profile and perceptions around the corporate responsibility of global brands, in global communities.
- Utilising the talent pool reduces costs and turnover of staff, as people feel challenged, recognised and stretched in ways that develop their skills for the benefit of the business.