A Business Encyclopedia

Glass Ceiling

Definition: The Glass Ceiling refers to the unseen and yet unbreakable barrier that prevents women and minorities from reaching to the higher positions in the organization, irrespective of their achievements and qualifications.

In other words, an invisible upper limit in the organization, beyond which it is very difficult or sometimes impossible for a woman or minority men to reach, despite his/her efficiency and capability. This barrier exists because of implicit prejudice on the grounds of age, ethnicity, sex, political or religious affiliations, etc.

Like Glass Ceiling, the term Glass Escalator is very much prevalent in the corporate world, which means men are progressing faster in the female dominating industry, viz. Teaching and nursing, than women in a male-dominated industry. This shows that men are given more preference over a woman. Generally, there is a stereotype, that women are weak and cannot take managerial decisions wisely and hence, are not given the higher level positions in the organization.

But however, there are certain women who have crossed the glass ceiling and are in the top positions in the organization, such as Indra Nooyi (CEO of Pepsi Co.), Chanda Kochhar (CEO and MD of ICICI Bank), Shikha Sharma (CEO and MD Axis Bank), Naina Lal Kidwai (CEO of HSBC Bank) and many more.

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