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What Is Glass Ceiling? How BarRaiser Helps Break Glass Ceiling at Workplace?

  • By basitahmaddar
  • April 18, 2024
  • 6 mins read
what is glass ceiling
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    The term “glass ceiling” was first used by Marilyn Loden in 1978 at the Women’s Exposition in New York. It symbolizes the hidden barrier that prevents women and minority groups from climbing higher in their careers. Loden, who was passionate about workplace diversity, coined this term to shed light on the challenges faced by these groups in reaching top positions within organizations.

    In this article, we will explore what is glass ceiling, explore the reasons behind its existence, and provide actionable tips for overcoming it in your workplace.

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    What is Glass Ceiling? 

    The term ‘glass ceiling’ paints a picture of an invisible but powerful barrier that women and minorities often encounter when striving for higher positions in their careers. It represents the hurdles and biases they face in predominantly male-dominated workplaces. Instead of explicit rules, this barrier is shaped by societal norms and unconscious biases, making it harder for women and minorities to progress as smoothly as their male counterparts.

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    What Are The Factors Responsible For Glass Ceiling? 

    Now that you understand what is glass ceiling, let’s take a closer look at why it exists and the factors contributing to its persistence:

    Gender Roles

    Society often assigns distinct roles to men and women, with women typically expected to prioritize caregiving and household responsibilities over career advancement. These traditional gender roles create a disproportionate burden on women, limiting their ability to pursue higher-level positions and leadership roles within organizations. Despite aspirations for career growth, women may find themselves constrained by societal expectations, which can hinder their progress and perpetuate the glass ceiling effect.

    Gender Bias

    Gender bias manifests in various forms in the workplace, including stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory practices. Women, particularly those belonging to minority groups, often encounter biased treatment and unequal opportunities for advancement. Biases such as the perception of women as less competent leaders or the tendency to undervalue their contributions can significantly impede their career progression. These biases contribute to the creation and reinforcement of barriers that prevent women from breaking through the glass ceiling and reaching top leadership positions.

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    Sexual Harassment

    Despite increased awareness and efforts to address it, sexual harassment remains a pervasive issue in many workplaces. Women are disproportionately affected by harassment and microaggressions, which can create hostile work environments and undermine their confidence and professional aspirations. The prevalence of sexual harassment not only directly impacts women’s well-being but also indirectly affects their career advancement. Fear of harassment or retaliation may deter women from pursuing leadership roles or cause them to leave their jobs prematurely, perpetuating the glass ceiling phenomenon.

    Unconscious Biases

    Even individuals with the best intentions may harbor unconscious biases that influence decision-making processes in the workplace. These biases, often rooted in societal norms and personal experiences, can lead to unintentional discrimination against women and minority groups. For example, recruiters and hiring managers may unknowingly favor candidates who resemble themselves or conform to traditional gender roles, perpetuating inequalities in hiring and promotion practices. Addressing unconscious biases requires proactive efforts to raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and promote diversity and inclusion within organizations.

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    How To Break The Glass Ceiling? 

    Apart from understanding what is glass ceiling and its underlying reasons, here are practical strategies to overcome it:

    Introduce Blind Screening Methods

    Blind screenings involve removing identifiable information from job applications and resumes, such as names, gender, race, or other demographic details. This approach allows the hiring manager to evaluate candidates solely based on their qualifications, skills, and experiences, rather than being influenced by unconscious biases. By implementing blind screenings, organizations can ensure a fair and unbiased selection process, ultimately increasing diversity and reducing the impact of the glass ceiling.

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    Offer Continuous Bias and Stereotype Training

    Bias and stereotype training sessions led by experts provide employees with valuable insights into unconscious biases and stereotypes that may exist in the workplace. These training programs create a safe space for open dialogue and discussion, allowing participants to recognize and challenge their own biases. By raising awareness and promoting understanding, organizations can foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment where all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of their background or identity.

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    Define Clear Diversity Recruitment and Advancement Goals

    Establishing clear diversity and inclusion goals is essential for driving meaningful change within an organization. By assessing the current demographic makeup of the workforce and identifying areas for improvement, companies can develop actionable strategies to enhance diversity at all levels, from entry-level positions to senior leadership roles. Regularly monitoring progress towards these goals and soliciting feedback from employees can help organizations stay accountable and make necessary adjustments to their hiring and promoting practices. Ultimately, setting diversity goals demonstrates a commitment to creating a workplace that embraces diversity and strives to dismantle barriers like the glass ceiling.

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    What Are The Other Forms Of Glass Ceiling? 

    Here are some additional terms that shed light on various forms of workplace barriers and challenges faced by marginalized groups:


    The term “pink-collar” refers to jobs traditionally held by women, such as administrative or service roles. Despite possessing similar skills and qualifications, women in pink-collar jobs face systemic barriers to advancement and fair compensation. These positions tend to be undervalued and offer lower pay and status compared to male-dominated professions.

    Glass Escalator

    The “glass escalator” describes the phenomenon where men in predominantly female professions, such as nursing or teaching, experience accelerated career advancement. This disparity highlights entrenched gender biases favoring men in roles typically associated with femininity, further exacerbating inequality in leadership representation.

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    Bamboo Ceiling

    The “bamboo ceiling” refers to the barriers faced by Asians and Asian Americans in ascending to senior leadership positions. Beyond workplace discrimination, this term encompasses societal stereotypes and cultural biases that hinder career progression for individuals of Asian descent.

    Concrete Ceiling

    The term “concrete ceiling” emphasizes the compounded challenges faced by women of color in breaking through professional barriers. Intersectional discrimination based on race and gender creates formidable obstacles for women of color, necessitating targeted efforts to dismantle systemic biases and promote inclusivity.

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    Glass Cliff

    The concept of the “glass cliff” describes a situation where women are often appointed to leadership positions during times of crisis or instability, increasing the likelihood of failure. This phenomenon highlights the persistent bias against female leaders and underscores the need for organizations to create supportive environments for diverse leadership.

    Maternal Wall

    Women, particularly working mothers, often encounter the “maternal wall,” characterized by stereotypes and biases related to caregiving responsibilities. This bias penalizes women for their family commitments, resulting in diminished career opportunities and unequal treatment in the workplace.

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    Labyrinth of Leadership

    Replacing the outdated concept of the glass ceiling, the “labyrinth of leadership” acknowledges the multifaceted challenges women face throughout their careers. This metaphor captures the complex interplay of bias, stereotypes, and systemic barriers that hinder women’s advancement, necessitating comprehensive strategies to promote gender equality and inclusion.

    How BarRaisers Help Break the Glass Ceiling in Your Workplace

    Now let’s explore the features offered by BarRaiser to tackle the glass ceiling and promote inclusivity in your workplace:

    Fostering Fairness and Consistency in Interviews

    BarRaiser is committed to ensuring fairness and consistency in all interviews through the use of AI technology. Our interview co-pilot tool provides real-time guidance, aiding BarRaiser in eradicating hiring bias and ensuring that each candidate is treated equitably.

    Offering Insightful Analysis for Hiring

    BarRaiser’s hiring insights offer valuable support to an interviewer and a hiring manager. These insights provide a comprehensive overview of interviewer performance, data analysis, trends, and bias detection, contributing to efforts to break through the glass ceiling by creating more transparent and merit-based hiring processes.

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    Mitigating Bias in Hiring Practices

    BarRaiser’s AI-powered interview tool is specifically designed to reduce biases in the hiring process. Through advanced analysis, it generates candidate scorecards based on interview performance and feedback. This ensures that hiring decisions are merit-based, enabling BarRaiser to dismantle barriers like the glass ceiling and create equal opportunities for all candidates.

    Facilitating Inclusive Hiring Through Evaluation Metrics

    Evaluation metrics play a crucial role in identifying top talent. BarRaiser utilizes real-time AI interview notes and candidate feedback to provide objective evaluations. By employing comprehensive evaluation criteria, BarRaiser confidently selects candidates based on their qualifications, fostering inclusive hiring practices that challenge the constraints of the glass ceiling and promote diversity in the workplace.

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    In conclusion, addressing the challenges posed by the glass ceiling and fostering inclusivity in the workplace necessitates proactive measures and strategic initiatives. By implementing innovative solutions and embracing diversity, organizations can create environments where all individuals have equal opportunities for growth and advancement. 

    BarRaiser stands out as a valuable resource in this journey, offering a range of features designed to promote fairness, transparency, and meritocracy in hiring practices. With BarRaiser’s support, companies can break down barriers, challenge biases, and cultivate a culture of inclusivity, ultimately driving positive change and fostering a more equitable workplace for all.

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