Today's "Glass Ceiling," which suggests that women cannot rise as highly as similarly qualified men, is an echo of sexism and racism. The prejudices women still faces are descended from the old patriarchal system and the organized discrimination of slavery. Because patriarchal and slavery mentalities have been around for a long time, we are still trying to fight entrenched sexism and racism, and it will take a while to fully exterminate this problem. It is especially challenging because discrimination is often passed from generation to generation. However, through the hard work and perseverance of women and enlightened men, these antiquated ideas are fading and will one day vanish completely.
In her article in The Guardian, "Glass Ceilings and The Law: Unconscious Bias Must Be
Acknowledged," Linda Jones lays out the reasons we are still dealing with the glass ceiling today. In her opinion, employers follow "unconscious bias" when making important decisions regarding their employee's future. She states that although the issue of discrimination has changed for the better (and cases of racism and sexism are not as obscene and overt as they were before), white men in power still inevitably perceive white male employees as "people like us."
Ultimately, those employees receive all the perks. Jones points out that the first step in stopping
"unconscious bias" is becoming aware of its existence. Once you know you have a problem, you can and will start looking for solution. She gives the example of one Ms. Francis, an African
American professional woman, who failed to get promoted. The other candidate - who was a white woman - moved up the corporate ladder instead of Ms. Francis. Ms. Francis ultimately sued her employer for wrong-doing, as she felt something inappropriate had occurred. After a thorough investigation, the facts ultimately showed that an "inconsistent approach to scoring" played a role in decision making. The courts decided that wrongdoing had indeed occurred and
found Ms. Francis' employer at fault. Jones argues that unconsciously this employer preferred the white candidate solely because of the color of her skin (Jones, 2014).
On the brighter side, author Kate Mather writes in The Los Angeles Times about a recent example of a "broken glass ceiling" in her article "Case of Broken Glass Ceiling." The case she points to is very notable because it occurred in a male-dominated field: the police department.
The entrenched patriarchy of the police force is well known - particularly in the forensics office where this ‘ceiling breaking’ occurred. Mather points out that as the field of forensics requires extensive knowledge of science and law (two disciplines that are traditionally male dominated) the forensics department is known to be something of a ‘men's only’ office. Her article informs us, however, that at least in the forensics unit of the Torrance Police Department, that cliché (and the ceiling above it) was smashed to pieces. Women are dominating the Torrance forensics unit today, but this certainly did not happen overnight. Mather reports that it all started with Donna
Brandelli about 20 years ago. In the article, Donna recalls, "It's hard enough coming in here as a civilian in a law enforcement environment, and then to be a female civilian?" Mather states nowadays over 75%-78% of forensic studies graduates are women, which is a huge
"breakthrough" for women (Mather, 2014).
One area where we could still see obvious reflections of the glass ceiling is in political offices. Jonathan Martin reported in The New York Times article “Glass Ceilings in Statehouses in the Northeast" that a current overview of the statistics data portrays many disadvantages and obstacles that women candidates meet when running for state Congress and Senate seats. The election and re-election of President Obama suggests that America as a nation has jumped over the race barrier. Martin observes