The term “glass ceiling” is a metaphor used to describe the invisible barriers that women face as they move up the ladder in their careers. This phenomenon hinders gender equality, as it prevents women from reaching positions of responsibility, mostly held by men. It is a glass ceiling because it is invisible, which does not make it any less real.

Invisible barriers

The glass ceiling is culturally constructed by gender roles and the inputs we receive from birth. From the lack of female references in leadership positions to micro-aggressions or being questioned more often than they are. All of this contributes to diminishing women’s confidence in their abilities despite being highly qualified professionals. It also explains the pay gap between men and women with the same level of education.

Where was the term born?

Marylin Loden first used the term “glass ceiling” in 1978 during a debate. The concept became increasingly popular later, in 1986 when it appeared in a Wall Street Journal column describing the barriers women faced as they climbed up the corporate hierarchy. At first, the term was applied to women, but over time it has been extended to men from racial minorities as well. Despite progress in women’s rights since then, we are still far from real equality between men and women in business.

TBS and its commitment to gender equality

TBS Education carries out initiatives to combat gender inequality in the business world and, in particular, the glass ceiling. Equal.ID is a mentoring program aimed at female students, to help them make their way in the business world. It also offers training and activities for them, mainly focused on awareness-raising. TBS is clear about the importance of training the leaders of the future, a task that is essential to change things. To progress towards a more egalitarian world, it is necessary to break the glass ceiling once and for all.

If you are interested in the business world and want to break this glass ceiling, you can find out about our Bachelor in Management, our Master in Management, or our MSc programs.

glass ceiling

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