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Breaking The Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach The Top Of America's Largest Corporations? Updated Edition

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Ann M. Morrison

This far-reaching study of female executives indicates progress in their status, but not enough in light of equal employment laws. Although women have reached management levels, only a miniscule minority in the Fortune 500 companies hold top positions1.7%. … see full wiki

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Author: Ann M. Morrison
Publisher: Basic Books
1 review about Breaking The Glass Ceiling: Can Women Reach...

So Near and Yet So Far...Even Today

  • Jun 4, 2001
The authors ask, "Can women reach the top of America's largest corporations?" They can and they have...but rarely. This book examines the results of a three-year study of women executives in "Fortune 100" companies. First published in 1987 and then in a revised edition in 1992, Breaking the Glass Ceiling is not wholly current with the situation in these same companies today. (Question: How many have lost their lofty rating they have under-utilized the capabilities of their female employees? Hmmm....) From my perspective, however, most of the book's assertions and conclusions are still valid. The so-called "glass ceiling" has been raised since 1992 but it is still there. Although no long legal, it remains a major barrier nonetheless.

Think about it: You can see where you want to go...you know what you must do to get there...and you are confident of your abilities. So your upward journey within the organization begins. Just as Dorothy saw the distant glow of Oz, you see just as clearly your own destination. It excites you, it inspires you, and you begin to think about how wonderful it will be to get there. As you carefully ascend, you encounter what seems to be a pane of glass. Your face is flush against it. You can still see your destination above you, so near and yet so far. You have hit the "glass ceiling." Now what?

The authors organize their material within eight chapters whose titles correctly indicate the sequence of their analysis:

The Ceiling and the Wall: The Double Barrier to the Top

Up or Out: How Women Succeed, How They Derail

Perception Is Reality: The Narrow Band of Acceptable Behavior

Lessons for Success I : It's Not Enough to Work Hard

Lessons for Success II: It's Not Enough to Work Smart

Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Making It to General Management

Hitting the Wall: Facing Limits, Finding Alternatives

The Future: Can Women Make It to the Top?

Where Are They Now? According to the authors, they are encouraged by two trends: the development of a new "business imperative" which requires organizations to utilize fully all of its human assets, and, the renewal of "legal and legislative pressures." The former is best understood in terms of enlightened self-interest; the second is best understood in terms of the threat of litigation if prevailing laws against gender discrimination have been violated. Whatever it takes. The authors observe: "While there is still a long way to go, progress is being made. Some have broken, or at least cracked the glass ceiling, while others have found ways around it. All have treated the last several years as a learning experience and have applied their own advice in facing the challenges of pioneering women." The "business imperative" as well as "legal and legislative pressures" may have done much to eliminate the "glass ceiling" within organizations. Well and good. But a significant challenge remains: To remove it it, also, from within the minds of those who have been its victims.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling (bold face) helps us to measure what has been accomplished since 1987 when it was first published; 14 years later, it reminds us of what remains to be done.

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