Friday, December 4, 2009

Does the "Glass Ceiling" still exist?

During the presentation yesterday, we had a short class discussion about whether or not we felt that there was still a "glass ceiling" in our society. Basically, the glass ceiling refers to a situation in which a qualified individual is essentially stopped from advancing further in their career due to some form of discrimination. In the context we were focusing on, we were discussing sexism. We were asked if we thought there was still this invisible barrier for women in the work place.

I have discussed this concept very briefly in other courses and it's interesting because I have always sort of felt that it was an outdated term. However, after reading some blogs and listening to class discussions, it seems as though that may not be the case. A classmate made the comment that men were getting paid significantly more money for doing the same job as some women. This doesn't make any sense and I was a little skeptical about this statement. I just can't see how employers would get away with that. I would agree that it is often easier for men to advance in certain careers but if a man and a woman are at the same level, they should be getting paid the same. I would say that presently, this is not as prominent as it once was although it seems that discrimination of some form in the workplace will always exists.

It still seems that there are certain jobs that are considered to be a man's job or a woman's job. I remember my first days of university at the U of A. We were placed in groups based on our faculty for orientation. I remember everyone recognizing who the engineers were because 98% of them were male. We could also easily recognize where the nursing faculty was as their group was 98% female. This is changing slightly but looking around the classroom, there are way more women than men in all of my education classes. That field is still dominated by women. However, it was brought up that although there are a lot of female teachers, most administrators were men. This is definitely not the case anymore. Both of the schools that I did my practicums in had female principals. I definitely think that is changing a bit and women are able to advance a lot more.

But is it going too far? Sometimes I feel as though certain sexes are more suited for a job BUT on the other hand, I also think that sex should NOT be looked at when being considered for a job. Employers should be looking for skills, experience, qualifications, etc. In some cases, a position is given to a woman just because she is a woman. I have a relative who is a firefighter. He says that their company is required to have a certain number of women, and also that he feels as though some of those woman would not be able to pull him out of a burning building should the situation arise. That is a little bit scary. Don't get me wrong, I am not discouraging women from becoming firefighters. I just feel as though everyone should be looked at based on their qualifications not on gender... Or race for that matter. Many companies are required to hire so many minorities and schools also need to admit so many. How is that fair? Why can't people just be looked at based on their qualifications? It seems as though everyone is trying not to discriminate but doesn't know exactly how to approach it fairly.

Things have definitely changed with respect to women and minority groups in the workplace. However, there are always still problems with the system. As you can see, I feel as though it can go both ways or be pushed too far. I like to think that we are moving in the right direction but I also know that my knowledge is limited on the subject as I have not experienced much of this first hand. Any thoughts??


  1. I agree that being considered or hired for a job should be based on qualifications. I don't necessarily think it's right that so many of a certain group whether it be a gender group or a racial minority because what if there is a more qualified person that doesn't belong to one of these groups? When talking about fire fighting, it is definitely a physically demanding job. I have talked to people about this, and there are physical tests that firefighters in training have to pass in order to become a firefighter. However, when carrying sand bags that are supposed to be people, men are required to carry a heavier bag than women. I don't think this should be the case in such a job. Because like you said, your relative doesn't think some of the women he works with could carry him out. We should all be judged by the same qualifications for something like that. Because honestly, I would want to know that the person coming to save me was actually doing to be able to do so!

    It's a tough call. I haven't had a whole lot of experience with it in the work place. I work in a restaurant every summer and all the waitresses are female there are no male waiters. I don't even think we had a male on our staff. I have worked at a clothing store, where it was all women for the majority of my time there and at the end one male was hired.

    I don't like the whole nursing is for women and trades are for men thing. I don't about that in my blog. I think that is changing but very very slowly. It still isn't completely accepted for a woman to do a "man's job" and vice versa. Very unfortunate.

  2. Firefighting isn't just about carrying bodies. If someone is too heavy to pull out, you radio to the firefighter next to you and you both carry the victim out. One could just as easily imagine a hole in the wall someone has to squeeze through to reach that baby, and the slender woman finds that an easier fit than the muscular guy. Why are the criteria set so its only what the muscular guys can do?

    And current research is absolutely clear on the glass ceiling -- it still exists, though the gap has closed a tiny bit since the 1960s -- but men still make more than women doing the same job.


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