Discrimination and Affirmative Action (Glass Ceiling)
The paper will look at how women have for years been faced with artificial barriers as they try to advance into senior management positions. It will critically assess how efforts to include them equally into company leadership has hampered their economic gains and how there is still a long way to go before realization of their efforts. The argument that will prevail in this case is how this discrimination largely known as 'glass ceiling' has affected not only women competitiveness but largely affected the competitiveness of businesses, companies and even governments the world over.
The glass ceiling, is it a fact or just an illusion? Glass ceiling is a word that is used to describe barriers that exists for women, when it comes to getting promoted into the upper echelons of a company. Indeed it purely exists and it affects largely the women and also the minority in the society. It resultants is that it has made women remain a step behind their counterpart the man who has received all the recognition of promotion despite same level of education and achievements. 'Barriers that hinder the career advancement of women are varied and complex. For instance for a company like KBR, a woman may not be considered appropriate because of her feminine body and may need for men who can do the construction work. Even though women hold managerial positions, few have made breakthroughs to top level positions.' (Adair, 1994).
However it is quite noticeable that the glass ceiling is still solid as ever and to an extent we can call this discrimination. 'The glass ceiling barrier towards women is nothing but an insidious form of sex discrimination, in violation of law.' (Ann, 1994) And while company managers increasingly recognize the value of workforce diversity, particularly at the management levels, glass ceiling barriers continue to deny women the opportunity to compete for and hold executive level positions. For a company like KBR, both genders are important despite the nature of work involved.
The glass ceiling starts to form itself very early on, the moment a woman is in college where certain courses are viewed to be for males, for instance in construction, medicine and engineering. Once such a female student enters the workforce she is faced with much discrimination and injustice practices that she cannot perform as well as a man especially if the company is like KBR specializing in enginering. A man and a woman who leaves college and has the same qualifications or education or training for the same job, the man is quite likely to have a considerable gap in their yearly income, yet they have the same education and qualifications yet their treatment will not be the same, the man gets better treatment. The woman has not shown herself to be incapable of accomplishing her job and has not given her employer any reason to doubt her capabilities, or commitment to her career other than the simple fact that she is a woman.
'Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women had no rights against discrimination in the work place. When promotion arose, the male would get the promoted instead. This is because the females were viewed as inferior and incapable of handling the higher ranking positions. This is despite the fact that they would work as hard as their male counterparts.' (Kalpana & Sameer, 2009) Although some progress has been made in the recent years, proactive measures are still needed to address the invisible but impenetrable barriers that continue to deprive women the opportunity to the highest levels of the business or company worlds regardless of their accomplishments or merits. But before we look at how it has reduced individuals competitiveness and businesses let linger on the question, 'how committed are we in reducing this vice?' This is the question that should ring in every one of us, so that we can drive the change. Do we women have to continue feeling like they have to slouch so that they can fit? In a tight economy and turbulent times of economic crisis, the males are protecting their turf more than ever before.
However inroads have been made in raising the awareness of the problem, but there is still a lot that…