The term “ glass ceiling” — it’s the invisible barrier that hinders the advancement of women with success in their professional lives. Term feminism, everyone is familiar with this term, and some people do not understand this term completely which complicate the term more. Similar to the glass ceiling, the concrete ceiling is a barrier to success. The difference between the two terms is that the concrete ceiling is a term specifically made for women of colour.
This new term had to be created, simply because the experiences of white women and women of colour are extremely different, but too often ignored.
Times have changed, however, and the glass ceiling metaphor is now more wrong than right. For one thing, it describes an absolute barrier at a specific high level in organizations. The fact that there have been female chief executives, university presidents, state governors, and presidents of nations gives the lie to that charge.
“In a world where talent is distributed equally among women and men, an economy that does not fully tap into the leadership skills offered by women is necessarily inefficient,” says Chicago Booth Professor Marianne Bertrand. “Talent is left on the table when women are not placed in leadership positions, and the economy suffers.”
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- One reason for the pay gap: college-educated women, more often than men, avoid majors that lead to higher-earning occupations.
- The willingness to take risks helps employees compete for higher-paying jobs and negotiate higher salaries. Whether men and women are born with different attitudes toward risk or the differences are taught, understanding the role of nature versus nurture is key to closing the gap.
- Women have a harder time with this inflexibility because they remain disproportionately responsible for taking care of the home, including raising children.
While family-friendly work policies such as longer and paid maternity leaves, paternity leaves, optional part-time or shorter work hours, and the opportunity to work remotely, help address women’s need for greater flexibility, they fail to address the earnings gap, says Bertrand. No one policy will be able to crack the glass ceiling, she says. But she is hopeful that technological advances could pave the way for change.
The problem is not ambition because women nowadays, either of any colour is determined and capable of achieving their own dreams. Women of colour have made impressive strides towards higher levels of education and success.
Today, black women surpass any other group in both race and gender in college enrollment. It’s clear women of colour want to work and want to succeed, but they are more likely than any group in America to work for poverty-level wages. This is due to multiple factors, including unconscious bias, the confidence gap, and lack of opportunity, all acting as part of the concrete ceiling.
The term empowerment is exactly what is needed to reduce this difference, and for this woman with colour or having dark complexity, empowerment works. When people are valued at an early age, they’re more likely to carry that self-worth throughout their lives.
We need to make sure we are making room for women of colour. And we ourselves need to be role models for the next generation. More than 50 per cent of volunteers and leaders on the LGM team are African-American; working as examples to look up to works.
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