As women began to enter most areas of the professional world, there was massive, if sometimes subtle, pushback against their progress. Even now, women remain underrepresented in many industries, like technology and engineering, despite significant increases in their acceptance rates to undergrad programs in these fields.
Female professionals also often struggle to achieve upward mobility after establishing themselves in a particular field. The term “glass ceiling” refers to an invisible, yet very real, barrier to the highest levels of various fields. Have women successfully broken through the glass ceiling?
Women remain vastly underrepresented at the top levels
According to employment data from as recently as 2020, only roughly 6% of large corporation’s CEOs are female despite making up a significant portion of the workforce. Bias among those making decisions about hiring or promotions and double standards that grant men more credit for the same career success that women achieve may hold back women with executive ambitions.
Often, concerns about a woman’s reproductive decisions will affect her upward trajectory at a company. Women below the age of 40 are all perspective pregnant workers in the eyes of some employers. Even if a woman has committed herself to not becoming a mother or has a husband who will be a stay-at-home spouse, her ability to carry children may diminish her company’s perception of her commitment to her job.
“Lookism” can also play a role, as women who are finally past the age of child-bearing will have to contend with negative male opinions of their aging appearance. Fighting back against workplace sex discrimination may demand that you document unfair decisions and then hold your employer accountable for them.