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The Glass Ceiling Effect

Angela Frazier, Barbara Darnay, Corey Alspaugh

Angela Frazier

on 21 February 2011

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Transcript of The Glass Ceiling Effect

The Glass Ceiling Effect An invisible barrier that determines the level of which a woman or member of another minority group can rise in an organization (Hester, 2007). The United States, known as the land of opportunity, but for many women this image has become somewhat overrated when it comes to their civil liberties. Women face a lot of issues in the workplace today because of our society's views and stereotypes. This identity has challenged the abilities of women for years. In most cases, women receive lower pay than their male counterparts.
Many mangers do not recognize female employee's achievements to the same extent as a male employee's achievements.
In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was passed. This Act prohibited the standard business practice of paying female employees less than their males counterparts when performing the same job (All Business, 2011). It took 44 years for the wage gap to close to 19 cents. This was at a rate of less than half a penny a year (Simon, 2010). Women's median pay was less than men's in each and every one of the 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007. The American Civil Liberties Union reports that woman still earns only 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man (Runnheim-Olson, 2010). Full-time working women were paid 59 cents on average for every dollar paid to men (Simon, 2010). In our society, the constructed identity of women in the workplace causes stereotypes towards women to become a challenge and their abilities are questioned. The media is notorious for portraying females in roles including caretaker, housekeeper, and in administrative support positions (Runnheim-Olson, 2010). Women are often times considered sexual objects in the workplace which leads to sexual harassment by men. Sexual harassment can occur when women are up for promotions, salary increases, hiring decisions, etc. Often times, women fail to report the harassment, or they are unable to provide sufficient proof. The legal framework relating to issues that women face under the Glass Ceiling Effect in the workplace provides some help when trying to police the issues and challenges in the workplace. In 1963 and 1964, the United States Congress passed two landmark laws designed to remove discrimination from workplace relations in the U.S.(All Business, 2011). Equal Pay Act of 1963-prohibited the standard business practice of paying female employees less than their male counterparts when performing the same job (All Business, 2011). Civil Rights Act of 1964-included a comprehensive fair employment section (Title VII) that was intended to ban discrimination against minorities and women in all conditions and terms of employment (Patrick & Ross, 2000). The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Law was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009. The law restored workers' rights to challenge illegal wage discrimination in the federal courts (Huffington Post, 2011). Adding these laws were an attempt by the government to stop the discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudiced behavior in the workplace. The government created many proposed solutions of differing groups to help women prevent the Glass Ceiling Effect in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) A federal agency created to enforce federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. In 1991, The Glass Ceiling Commission was established, and the U.S. Department of Labor defined "those artificial based on attitudinal or organizational bias that prevent qualified individuals from advancing upward in their organization into management-level positions" as Glass Ceiling (Associated Content, 2011). Corporate Human Resource Departments also played a part in the solution to the Glass Ceiling Effect.
There was a significant improvement in women's participation in the corporate world during the last few decades; many women reached the O-zone level (Icmrindia, 2011). Corporate organizations in this country did not seem to favor women, so to avoid hitting the class ceiling, some women became entrepreneurs (Icmrindia, 2011). HR professionals are required to be knowledgeable of employment laws, programs, and practices for their organizations (Nawbola, 2011). There were four critical career strategies for women to attain senior positions. Consistently exceed the performance expectations Develop a style in which the make managers feel comfortable Seek out challenging and visible assignments Obtain the support of an influential mentor 4 There were also state and federal laws and regulations that were passed to help to police the Glass Ceiling Effect. In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed. Munro thought because federal legislation required companies to have fewer insiders on its boards; there would be more opportunities for women (SeattlePI, 2011). Women have always understood the need to redefine core architecture for doing business. They have become very active in public policy and advocacy legislative processes and politics. There were hearings in California where women are pushing for a universal woman owned business certification (Bizform, 2011). According to the National Women's Business Council (2004), the federal government has spent a record setting $8.3 billion with female-owned businesses. This accounts for 3% of all funds spent in 2003 and a 21.3% spending increase over 2002 (All Business, 2011). The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission was created to as a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (Lampe, 2011). The commission consisted of a 21 people and was chaired by Elizabeth Dole, then Secretary of Labor. There was a study conducted by this commission which found that at the highest levels of leadership, barriers did indeed exist for women and people of color (Lampe, 2001). The commission also found that 97% of the senior managers of the Fortune 1000 Industrial and the Fortune 500 are white, and 95-97% are male, while only 5% of these managers are women and only 5% of these women are minorities (Lampe, 2011). The Glass Ceiling Effect also exists in countries other than the United States. In Egypt, women are allowed to be judges, but they are not allowed to judge administrative cases. Only men are allowed to preside over these cases. The vote against women ruling on these cases provoked street demostrations and prompted rights groups to mobilize on the issue (Weekend All Things Considered, 2010). The protests brought about a quick review of the law, and the law was overturned, only to have more opposition to say that women judging administrative cases is unconstitutional. Lebanese women are also battling the Glass Ceiling Effect. Until recently, women were not allowed in the politcal spectrum. Raya Haffar recently won a place in Lebanon's male dominated political spectrum as finance minister (The Middle East, 2010). There are only 4 women who have seats on a 128-seated parliament. The Lebanese Council for Women is a nongovernmental organization(NGO), founded in 1952, champions for women's rights in Lebanon (Lebanese Women's Awakening, 2010). SOLUTIONS All coporations must provide 100 hours of diversity training each year to keep up with the changes happening in society. All salaries of corporations must be reported to the offices of the Glass Ceiling Commission in their district. Human Resources Departments should update regulations and policies with the changing workplace. Federal, state, and local governments should help with adequate funding for all of these programs to be implemented into the workplace. Conclusion Women have always been innovative and strong willed with their thinking. Combating the Glass Ceiling Effect is just another obstacle for women to conquer. Becoming independent, not relying on something or someone else will help women to become their best. A quote I once heard was "Become the best change you want to see."-Oprah Winfrey THE END
The Fairness Paycheck Act is one alternative solution to the Glass Ceiling Effect which passed in the House of Representatives, but not the Senate. The Act was written to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and close all of the loopholes in it by expanding damages and amending its very broad fourth affirmative defense which will be a real helpt to victims of pay discrimination. This Bill will prevent employers from retaliating against employees who share their pay information (Simon, 2010). Also, it will educate and train about wage discrimination so people will know when they ar being discriminated against and what they can do about it (Feminist Wire, 2010). Angela Frazier Barbara Darnay Corey Alspaugh by ALTERNATIVE Mentor and be mentored. Many successful business persons have identified mentoring as a critical factor in their career advancement due to its functions as a means of networking, socializing, and forming ties with infuential coporate leaders (The Glass Ceiling, 2011).
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