The “glass ceiling,” a term used to describe women’s inability to advance in their career and receive equal pay as men solely because of their gender, has plagued working women for decades. Although we are now living in a society where we are seeing more and more professional, career women, a very large inequality gap still exists. In fact, women currently earn 77% of what a man does for the same job with the same qualifications — a relatively small increase from the 64% that women would earn in 1951 according to infoplease.com. To put it simply, a women earns 77 cents for the same job that a man would do for a dollar.
But what about in female-dominated professions, such as teaching and nursing? Do women who work in these professions still experience the salary and career-advancement inequality as other women in different industries do? The answer, alarmingly, is yes. The “glass escalator” describes this phenomenon perfectly: Men who work in female-dominated professions are more likely to advance faster and further in their career, as well as receive higher pay. Many women that work as hard or even harder than men continue to struggle to advance as some men “glide by” on this intangible glass escalator. According to Caren Goldberg, Ph.D., an assistant professor of management who has studied this phenomenon at American University’s Kogod School of Business, “Men that enter female-dominated professions tend to be promoted at faster rates than women in those professions.”
To put some reason behind these staggering facts, many higher-ups and managers feel less inclined to promote women on the basis of career interruptions, such as raising a family. In addition, typical managerial and boss stereotypes typically match the qualities of a stereotypical man, such as assertiveness, which perpetuates this cycle. This societal stereotype that works to the benefit of men continues to place a stigma upon most working women, even those who do not have a spouse or children.
What do you think of the glass escalator? Have you ever experienced job inequality in your workplace?