No More Glass Ceiling for Women

Although it's 7 years old, I'm reading a powerful book called "Through the Labyrinth" by Eagly and Carli.  In the book they dispel the idea that there now exists a glass ceiling for women leaders, as in the last decade, women made large advances in leadership roles.  Yet, they recognize the challenge most face, replacing the "glass ceiling" metaphor (coined in 1986) for a "labyrinth," a complex maze for gaining influence.  

Here are 7 reasons they offer of why the glass ceiling metaphor is misleading*
1. It implies women have equal access to entry-level positions (they don't always; it's not just a top issue)
2. It assumes an absolute barrier at a specific high level, whereas it varies in organizations
3. It suggests barriers to women are difficult to detect and unforeseen (quite often you can identify them)
4. It assumes a single, homogeneous barrier, ignoring the complexity and variety of obstacles women leaders face
5. It fails to recognize diverse strategies women can overcome to become leaders
6. It precludes the possibility that women can overcome these barriers
7. It fails to suggest that problem solving can facilitate women's paths to leading.

So while it's not easy, hope is emerging that women who desire to lead now have more opportunities than ever to express their influence, but the path can still be complex and require strategic thinking and maneuvering. 

*Eagly, Alice & Carli, Linda, 2007, Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, p.7.


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