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The Glass Ceiling

Glass CeilingBreaking through the Glass Ceiling. Photo:


The Glass Ceiling

Have you ever heard of the term «The Glass Ceiling»? Equality of employment and pay in Norway and the prioritization of women – that sometimes applies to employment in Norway – made me interested in writing an article on this subject.

«Failure of women to achieve high levels of management» is most often referred to simply as «The Glass Ceiling». The term was coined by the Wall Street Journal, in 1986. Morrison and colleagues were the first to use the term in a research paper, in 1987.

The Glass Ceiling entail that women fail to reach the high levels of a hierarchy. They get near to the top positions in the organization but rarely make it to the summit. This frustration suggests that there is a glass ceiling, or discriminatory barriers, blocking the path to the highest levels of management in organizations.

Factors contributing to the Glass Ceiling


One of the most important barriers for women is gender stereotypes. A stereotype is a kind of thinking that views all women as the same and thus does not differentiate between them.

Communication networks

Women have less interaction with powerful people than men do, and they are not close to the focus of powerful networks. Since access to powerful networks has a positive relationship with organizational improvement, the lack of access to such networks leads to a glass ceiling for women, in the sense that women are largely isolated and deprived of informal communication networks.

Management style

Approximately 96% of female executives mentioned the use of a specific management approach that is desirable for male managers as a factor for improvement. They have to accept the culture and the masculine environment; ie deal with a phenomenon that is often referred to as a male pattern.

They acknowledged that the existing patterns of management are rich in masculine characteristics and methods. These patterns will put women in a bind to look at the manager’s way of feminine management. If they accept masculine methods, they may, however, be criticized for not being «female».

Studies have shown that the glass ceiling blocks many women from climbing to managerial positions; The Glass Ceiling is negative attitudes and prejudices that prevent women and minority groups beyond a specific level in the organizational hierarchy.



This term also applies to the issue of women’s wages. Although women may reach the highest levels of corporate governance, they are likely to receive a lower salary than men at the same level of employment (about 75% of men’s salary).

. I believe that Norway and Iceland are the first countries to step up the rights of women and men in the world. Equalizing the wages of male and female footballers was one of the most important steps by the Norwegian government to equalize the rights of women and men. Iceland has even made it illegal to pay females less than their male counterparts.

glass ceiling economist


To the Women Who Are “Too Nice”
Six Hard Truths For Women Regarding The Glass Ceiling
Business dictionary: Glass Ceiling
Webster: Glass Ceiling
Wikipedia: Glass Ceiling
The Glass Ceiling index

This article is written by our contributor, Ali Ashrafi, to be shared with the esteemed readers of Norway Today.

© Ali Ashrafi / #Norway Today
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