This is my second blog on why WXN should NOT have titled its women’s conference “What Glass Ceiling.” This is an excerpt from my upcoming book: “Occupy Women- A radical vision for dealing with the glass ceiling and the sticky floor.”
Part 1: You can’t see it because it’s glass
“No doubt about it, the glass ceiling is alive and well. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents in a Los Angeles Times poll of twelve thousand women reported experiencing sexual discrimination. Additionally a survey released by the Society for Human Resource Management indicated that nearly nine out of ten human resource professionals believe women face barriers to career advancement.” (Susan Solovic)
At a recent networking event a tall beautiful woman in her twenties approached me. Beaming ear to ear she thrust her hand toward mine and shook it forcefully, “It’s so good to meet you Dr. Fitzgerald, I am looking forward to your presentation. However, I have to tell you that I don’t belive there is such thing as a glass ceiling.” Although my first impulse was to scream and shake this lovely being, I instead practiced a more mindful technique of suspending judgement and replied. “So you haven’t personally experienced the glass ceiling yet?” And to this she prompty said, “I have not expeicned it nor do I believe it exists. Indeed if I believed it existed, it would only hold me back.” And sadly this is the very quandary most women face.
For some reason, many women think that if we just pretend it does not exist, it will go away. Like the monster under the bed. We think that if we admit that there is a glass ceiling, we will be more likely held back by it. But is this true? What if an Olympic track and field start said she refused to admit that hurdles were real? What if she pretended that they are very small hurdles? Does this help or harm her? This logic and way of thinking is very important.
The main reason why women think it’s best to wish it away is because we women have been told that the glass ceiling is just a figment of our imaginations. So just like other mental barriers that we conjur up in our minds, the glass ceiling is best dealt with by denying it exists at all. Although pretending might work for bed monsters, it does not work for the very real barriers that women face. Denial might feel good for a while but it never workd in the long term. ….read more when its published!