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Does the glass ceiling still exist?

For years women have fought for their rights. Once women gained rights in society, including the right to vote in 1928 via the representation of the People Act 1928, they were no longer willing to be treated as second class citizens in the home or in the work place. In the 1960’s it was public opinion that women should be entitled to equal pay and be seen as equals in the work place. But has this feminist movement achieved its end goal of complete equality in the workplace, does the glass ceiling still exist?

All the Yes points:

  1. Males still dominate the top positions
  2. No female Prime Ministers, or even party leaders, since Margaret Thatcher
  3. Maternity and paternity leave are not yet equal
  4. Glass Ceiling more like sticky floor

All the No points:

  1. Women are getting the most prestigious of jobs now
  2. The Future is Brighter for Women than it is for Men.

Males still dominate the top positions

Yes because…

Taking a look at the legal profession we can see that the percentage of women in the highest powered jobs is minute. The position of Lord of Appeal in Ordinary holds only 8.33% of women, High Court judges is 10.09% and the position of Recorder is made up of 14% women. If we look at deputy judges the percentage takes a small leap to 27%[http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/keyfacts/statistics/women.htm]]. With figures like these it is hard to argue that the glass ceiling has disintegrated.

No because…

The glass ceiling is extremely variable. The two deciding and overlapping factors, being whether women have children and which profession they are in. The choice or even the perceived threat of having children will see the glass ceiling start to crystallize. From personal experience this is not true of all professions though. The medical profession is one example where having children as a doctor, nurse, physio etc. will not necessarily hinder your chances of advancement. The glass ceiling is removed if women choose not to have children in many cases but this is hardly encouraging.

The glass ceiling as a concept seems obsolete faced with the tangled reality of women in the workplace in the wake of feminism. I believe factors such as socialization of gender and the existence of gendered spaces are better for interpreting issues of women in the workplace. Politics and the legal profession are gendered spaces, which through my studies I have seen have a deleterious effect on women who find themselves there. Compounded with the socialization of the passive female voice, politics certainly looks set to continue in a male dominated fashion.

Just the very discussion about women not reaching the top shows that women wont be happy about any position they ever hold !
Why aren’t women fighting for more of the same positions they have achieved.
Why does it have to be the TOP positions.
Is this not by default, pathetic ?
Feminism was necessary in certain fields but having to be honest…
Men helped and allowed much of what has happened to help feminism thus far.
Feminism, i feel has overstayed it’s welcome.
It is globally obvious that men are not seeing women the way they used to.
This is good in one way and disastrous in another.
The word marriage is becoming a swear word.

Anyway… i could carry on with that perspective but i feel that today’s feminists should tread carefully because the backlash to feminism is a silent one.
There can only be so much of a shift to TRY to balance things.
If men feel unjustly oppressed (which is already the case), Women are going to have to pick up the slack there in the future as well.
It is being seen, discussed, & publicized hugely all over already, women are increasingly not as valuable and respected by men anymore.
Women challenging men on any platform will end where ?
In the current system of things, i cant see this being a good thing.
It is unfortunate that many women abused their granted freedoms by blindedly accusing men as a whole.
Women were given the Olympic torch to carry and it seems “in many ways”, they are allowing the flame to extinguish.
The consequences for much of this is unfealt yet.
Our daughters will have to answer for this and our sons are already answering for it to some degree now.
Women messed up again by wanting EVERYTHING too quickly.

No female Prime Ministers, or even party leaders, since Margaret Thatcher

Yes because…

Margaret Thatcher became the Conservative party leader in 1975 and went on to become the Prime Minister in 1979. But a female in the top positions in government is not a regular occurrence. In fact Maggie is one of only three women to have served under the four Great Offices of State (Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary). Margaret Beckett only held the position of Foreign Secretary for one year from 2006-2007, so she can be seen as little more than a token piece, placed there for statistical value only. If the people’s government cannot deliver equality, how can we say the glass ceiling has gone?

No because…

Equality is not measured by how many leaders from a certain group get a job; but, by whether or not they were discriminated in competing for those jobs. It is not surprising that there are less female prime ministers, currently, since men compete for these positions in higher numbers than women. For every 8 male politicians running and campaigning for an office, there is only 1 female politician. The lack of female prime ministers is due to statistical unlikelihood, rather than discrimination.

Also I’d like to point out that Australia had a female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

Maternity and paternity leave are not yet equal

Yes because…

Employers worry when they hire young/middle aged women. They fear that after hiring a woman, she will only cost the company money by getting pregnant and going on maternity leave. To combat this attitude, maternity and paternity leave should be equal. Currently, paternity leave is a maximum of two consecutive weeks. These two weeks must be taken within 56 days of the child’s birth.[http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Moneyandworkentitlements/Parentalleaveandpay/DG_10029398]] This can be contrasted with the long maternity leave that is allowed for. Women are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave from day one of employment. Women are entitled to maternity pay for 39 weeks if they have been working for their employer for 26 weeks.[http://www.worksmart.org.uk/rights/what_time_off_work_am_i_entitled]]

Father’s also do not have the right to take time off work to attend antenatal classes, this allowance is for pregnant employees only.

No because…

No corporation, in almost every country on the earth will even offer their male employees something close to paternity. But, most countries mandate by law, that women get a set amount of maternity leave. If parental leave is the standard that we’re using for business success and equality, then it is men, who are the unsuccessful and unequal ones.

The truth is that, the lack of any kind of paternity leave for the male, indicates that there is a “glass ceiling” hovering over fathers heads, and is preventing them from good parents. It would benefit every family, if fathers were allowed to spend time with their new borns, like women can.

Glass Ceiling more like sticky floor

Yes because…

Most women never get off the sticky floor. I’m sure a great deal of the problem is caused by women taking excessive amounts of time off work to have children. Many of these are professional women, in whose families it is traditional to hire a nanny or to farm out children for their first few years, so why aren’t they back at work as soon as they are fit? Their behaviour reflects badly on all other women, who are then tarred with the same brush.

Employers should be required to employ equal numbers of men and women in all jobs at all grades under the same terms and conditions, working the same hours for the same pay and receiving the same training and chances of promotion. Women should also get the same pay, training and promotion as their male predecessors (many, in particular secretaries) are doing jobs once done only by men but for more pay and with better prospects. In short, employers should be required by law to treat women the same as men and that means not employing a married woman under her husband’s name.

No because…

WIll it be possible to have one employee?
But seriously, this argument is incredibly stupid. Different people have different abilities and should be paid accordingly. Otherwise people would never try to do better than their peers and we would be a nation of mediocrity. And forcing companies to hire two people for every 1 position is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Not only is it incredibly inefficient but it would severely cripple most business. And, to make matters worse, once people are chosen only for their sex instead of ability, experience and qualifications the quality of the product they produce will decline so rapidly I would not be surprised if the company vanished off of the face of the earth.

Futhermore, it makes no sense to treat someone who just took 5 years off to have children as though they just took a two week vacation. In many fields they will be so far behind that it will take years for them to catch up. And you are suggesting that companies should be forced to pay for that catching up the same amount they pay someone who has all the knowledge that was revealed during that time?

Women are getting the most prestigious of jobs now

No because…

The glass ceiling that women once used to be able to look through but not pass is gone. We can see this as women are attaining top jobs. Doctors, barristers, leading scientists, all now contain a significant female percentage. In regards to barristers, 48.9% of those called to the bar during 2005 were women.[http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=120289&d=122&h=24&f=46]] This is almost half, for one of the most prestigious jobs in Britain.

Yes because…

This only means that the glass has become thinner. Although the debate does say DOES THE GLASS CEILING STILL EXIST?

So since most men have the higher class jobs the glass still does exist.

The Future is Brighter for Women than it is for Men.

No because…

Women are 60% of college students and 60% of degree earners.[National Center for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d08/ch_3.asp%5D%5D [National Center for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_258.asp%5D%5D In a few short years what we will see is a continuation of what has already happened during this recession- males having greater economic woes. Currently, 80% of the jobs layed off were male jobs. Cristina Hoff Sommers, ‘No Country for Burly Men’ http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/659dkrod.asp ]] This trend is likely to continue, seeing as women are more educated, and there is currently no office to address men’s education, like there is for women’s.

Yes because…

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Jordan Coveron
7 years ago

I wouldn’t put a name to it, like ‘glass ceiling’, so much as I would describe it as personal life choices.
Generally speaking, men frequently seek more strenuous, higher paying jobs, and are willing to work longer hours. Generally speaking, women frequently seek jobs where they can be happier, and allow them to pursue their passions outside of work. If an employer has two candidates with equal experience and qualifications, applying for the same promotion, and the only distinguishing factor between the two was their work ethic and initiative, the promotion should go to the one who has worked harder regardless of gender.
Having a family and raising children is another variable. Obviously, women are natures choice to bear children. And deciding to create a family is everyone’s individual choice. Should a woman then choose to have children, that effectively puts her professional career on hold until she returns to the work place, which could be months. That could in turn effect promotional opportunities (depending on the industry), as they are opting out of the work force for an extended period of time. This is not because they are female, it is because of a choice made in their personal life. Say the situation were reversed, and the father were to stay at home to raise the child. Not only would he not be paid during that leave, but his position would not be guaranteed to him upon his return. We can’t expect an employer to equally consider candidates for promotion, if within a span of twelve months, one candidate was working in the office for the full time, the other only six months.
Advancement in the workplace can be stated in one word, sacrifice. Those willing to make the sacrifices necessary to see their career goals achieved, will succeed. Those unwilling will fall short, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or any other label.

Jane Odwyer
7 years ago

YES IT DOES EXIST AND WE ALL KNOW IT! But none of us want to admit it and actually give the women a shred of power. Please answer me this, how is it fair that a man with a 2.0 GPA can get the same job as a woman with a 4.0 GPA and the man still gets paid higher and is more respected for it? please explain that to me because that right there is downright disgusting for a man to think about and it makes women feel silenced and like they are a lesser human being, like they arent as important as a man. That is a HORRIBLE feeling for anyone to have and why would you want to play a part and brag about that and then on top of it all that make the women think that what she is feeling isnt true when we all know it is. Can we all just please get out heads out of our asses and actually admit to our faults instead of hiding behind your money and exuses! thanks.

Jordan Coveron
7 years ago
Reply to  Jane Odwyer

I see you are very passionate about this topic. The situation, in the manner you described it, is wrong, and should not occur. I would be curious to know if there was any informal education or experience that either candidate possessed, and what work industry this took place in. Also, if the example you provided has happened to you personally, or someone close to you.

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