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Equal Pay and the Glass Ceiling – Key Issues for Women Essay

Glass ceiling can be described as an economic term that refers to a scenario where the promotion of a qualified individual to a higher rank within an organization is overlooked so he or she is stuck at lower ranks mainly because of factors driven by discrimination, especially gender and racism (Arnwine, 2010). However, other factors considered as barriers to advancement at work place may include disabilities and aging.

A good example are barriers women face when aspiring or attempting to attain higher position which is senior as well as to have higher salary levels in workplaces such as government offices, education, nonprofit organizations and business organizations. Indeed, glass ceiling is a term that was first used to refer to factors that barred women from promotion in the work place in the US yet they possessed the necessary qualifications (Hakim, 2004). Women are vital for contribution of work force around the globe and thus they should be regarded as equally potential like men.

Despite their potential, women have been marginalized in various fields and especially in their work place since they are not much considered for advancement in their job groups even if they have the same qualification for promotion as their men counterpart employees. This is critical issue that should be addressed by the human resource management to ensure that job opportunities and promotions are granted on merit but not by any discrimination of whichever form.

There is need for human resource management to combat glass ceiling, expand leadership roles of women and also advancement of women in their work places in both domestic and global fronts (International labor Office, 2004). Human resource managers and professionals can have a great impact in an organization because their role in recruitment and promotion of employees (Crampton, Hodge, & Mishra, 1997). In other words, they ensure the well-being of all employees, especially with effect to job satisfaction to so that employees carry out their roles effectively.

In that effect they should be concerned and have knowledge on how the phenomenon of glass ceiling may be impacting the organization reputation either indirectly or directly. They should also have to understand how this phenomenon is impacting the customer loyalty, growth potential, skill set diversity, and even the organization’s bottom line. Often, the chief executive officer or the organization’s president should invite the professionals of human resource in a meeting and discuss on the possible organization’s changes that could be made in order to reduce glass ceiling which has been in existence.

This would maximize the organization’s reputation and performance. The human resource managers should also have knowledge of the organization’s employment laws, practices and programs. This is because the law can protect certain groups such as the women viewed as minority in labor markets. These professionals should also have the knowledge on the potential impacts that barriers caused by glass ceiling may have on the performance of the concerned employee.

In some countries such as the United States, work place discrimination, especially sexual discrimination is illegal as stipulated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, even though it exists in various forms. For instance, women may be discriminated in forms such as low salary increments and generally lower pay as compared to their male counterparts (International labor Office, 2004). This discrimination may also be manifested in the practices of hiring, promotional opportunities, development and training activities are disproportionate in favor of the men.

Human resource professionals have the potential of impacting barriers of glass-ceiling either negatively or positively due to the changes in workplace which they implement or facilitate such as employee recruitment, development and trainings, transfers, succession planning, promotions and terminations. In many organizations, affirmative action plans (AAF) should be conducted to utilize analysis that compares number of minorities and women who are available in labor markets with the ones employed in their organization (Hakim, 2004).

Another requirement of compliance is the review of corporate management, which is sometimes known as glass-ceiling audits and is usually conducted when the organization is conducting the audit of affirmative action plan and focus primarily on the process of decision making of CEO and senior executives. For non-compliance of affirmative action plans for a company, it can be fined severely and also companies who do not comply with employment laws may also have unfavorable publicity.

The glass ceiling evidence can be described as invisible, overt or covert (Arnwine, 2010). Glass ceiling has spread its roots to the gender based barriers which run gamut from the stereotypes of gender to leadership styles that are preferred up to the ranks of high management. The glass ceiling effect sign is the gender-biased compensation where by anecdotal reports and studies have shown big discrepancies on salary favoring men even for similar job levels in the same organizations. Discrepancies favoring men exists in many organizations which are of different sizes.

In these organizations women who do not have opportunities of gaining other competences are not likely to get any chance of adding their skills unlike their counterpart men working at the same organization (Crampton, Hodge, & Mishra, 1997). Women mostly do not get chances of training in various management fields in most organization and this is a vice that need to be sort out since the world is changing and women are breaking the glass ceiling and are now in senior position in many large organizations including high ranking government offices.

Another indicator which shows glass ceiling in an organization is when advancement of women is hampered by corporate cultures that are well-ingrained. Corporate practices and policies for example may maintain status quo in a manner that men are kept in the corporate power positions (International labor Office, 2004). Mostly the board directors in many organizations comprise men as the majority and they may also perpetuate the men status quo by choosing chief executive officers who are like them so as to plant the vice of glass ceiling in the organization.

Other barriers that can be said to be gender based are communication and behavioral styles that vastly differ from norms of company and the lack of women opportunity of gaining line experience and also the general management. Human resource professionals should iron out the norms and policies, which can be a barrier to advancement of any group of individuals in the organization and ensure that employees are all motivated without discrimination.

Human resource professionals should understand that challenges of work and personal life balance can have impact on women advancement and failure of dealing with them can result to the phenomenon of glass ceiling. They should have the assumption that women are care givers of the family and especially for the elderly and children and thus they may not meet all their work responsibilities due to family responsibilities. Furthermore, there are organizations which cannot give some programs that will involve outside commitment to women especially for the positions which are at senior levels.

Therefore a lot of women are disadvantaged to take aspiration steps of advancing in the organization. In addition, promotion opportunities are often given in favor of men mainly due to their developmental prospects which include networks and mentoring (Hakim, 2004). Women are limited to access of the informal networks that men use in developing relationship networks in the organization or company. These networks tend to eliminate women because of nature of their work or sometimes the promotion or advancement may be perceived as male activities and thus this contribute to work place gender barriers.

The human resource professionals should ensure that all organization activities are conducted in the organization but should not be discussed outside especially on the matter of promotion or job advancement in the organization. They should also see the need of balancing the personnel who are in the management and leadership line to include women so long as they are competent for such posts. Human resource personnel should avoid glass ceiling by avoiding perception of seeing women as being incompetent in various fields like management and stop stereotyping them.

They should do away with the barriers that prevent women from advancing in the organization such as societal barriers and governmental barriers. In recruiting new employees in the organization they should not consider the potential candidates with any discrimination under whatever grounds. The recruitment personnel should not stereotype people and consider other people such as men being more suitable thus leaving women out and may be they could be more competent than the men selected.

The government officials who are responsible for recruiting new employees should not be biased on a certain group of people since this is one thing that contributes to glass ceiling placing women on the losing end. Another point of view is that the human resource personnel should wipe out business and structural barriers such as recruitment and out reach practices which can make the minorities and women not to be considered in recruitments.

They should also be conscious about the corporate climate which isolate and alienate women from receiving promotions and job advancement in the organization they are working in so as to break the glass ceiling. Another area of adjustment is the training where many organization personnel responsible for training employees have pipeline barriers making women in the organization to receive poor training, which make them unable to have carrier growth in their organization (Crampton, Hodge, & Mishra, 1997).

They should also eliminate inadequate mentoring in the organization to make women able to be considered for such promotional posts in the organization rather than mentoring men only. Rating and testing systems should not be biased in the organization but should be fair and job advancement should be granted on the merit of performance and competence so as to avoid imbalance of the people in leadership positions in the organization.

Internal communication networks in the organization should not be limited to some people but the networks should be among all the employees working together because this is one barrier which makes women to lag behind at the times of job advancements and promotions. To reduce or eliminate glass ceiling in the organization, women employees should not be limited when it comes to job rotation and assignments because limitation of such nature may lead to executive suite.

The institutions should not be too much rigid to deny women employees the balance between work and family. With no access of training, developmental assignment, mentoring and other activities of job enhancement, too many women who are qualified are cut short before they reach their aspirations. Corporate leaders should realize that there is need of input and talent of minorities and women at the senior levels in their organization to meet the need of the changing environment in the market (International labor Office, 2004).

The demographic and competition internationally is changing and requires all types of gender so as to improve the today’s global world economy. Breaking glass ceiling should be addressed as economic imperative and is the bottom line critical issue in every business internationally and also a pocketbook issue to the working women together with their families. The chief executive officers should focus on job diversity so as to influence the organization culture and create atmosphere which utilizes fully capabilities and talents of the diverse workforce.

Setting timetables and goals for diversity of the work force is a business extension practice that can enable it to weigh their growth and progress. Line manager should be held responsible to break the glass ceiling and thus they should have systems of rewarding and compensating in accordance to the diversity objectives accomplishment. Organizations should have affirmative actions to ensure that all employees have access to opportunities equally and they should be based on merit and ability.

Opportunities of advancement should be promoted to people who can effectively contribute to the performance of the organization. This means that the rich talent should be used so as to improve the economic stability and also to break the glass ceiling. Another way of breaking glass ceiling is for the organizations to make expansion of their traditional recruitment networks to use a method that seek candidates with experience and backgrounds of non-customary.

All in all, the human resource professionals should be concerned on how they can break glass ceiling in their organizations because the world has changed and also glass ceiling is one of the issue that is much of concern in the today life. There is need of selecting and promoting employees in an organization on the grounds of merit so as to improve performance of the organization and have competent employees who know how to tackle changes as they come. References Arnwine, B. (2010). Breaking the Glass Ceiling.

Retrieved July 19, 2010, from http://www. newdeal20. org/2010/03/29/breaking-the-glass-ceiling-9240/ Crampton, S. , Hodge, J. , & Mishra, J. (1997). The Equal Pay Act: The first 30 Years. Public Personnel Management, 26, 12-21. Hakim, C. (2004). Key Issues in Women’s Work: Female Diversity and the Polarization of Women’s. Oregon: Routledge Cavendish. International labor Office. (2004). Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling: Women in Management. Retrieved July 19, 2010, from http://www. ilo. org/dyn/gender/docs/RES/292/f267981337


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