Glass Ceilings, Invisible Obstacles
It is a fact that women leaders and managers are much more common nowadays compared to the past. Women’s participation rate in business life is increasing day by day due to factors such as the development of the socio-cultural structure of our age, the increase in women’s level of education, the creation of trade union rights that support their employment and the emergence of new fields of work. However, despite all these positive developments, the large majority of women are still struggling with inequality and injustice in business life as well as social life. Even though the number of women actively participating in the business world is increasing, they still face many obstacles in advancing to higher executive positions.
Despite being the chief architects of society, women’s contributions to society are considerably underestimated or all too often, simply ignored. Women are often marginalized through gender discrimination, are subjected to unjust behavior and practices. They face many difficulties in terms of working conditions, employment, recruitment, wages and promotion.
Undoubtedly, the reason behind this is a false public perception imposing the belief that women should only work in lower-level managerial positions; in other words, a discriminatory view towards women. Women holding positions that require a strong personality such as management are not considered rational by some circles. At the root of this mentality are stereotypical sentiments claiming that women are more sensitive and weaker than men and that their sentimentality outweighs their rationality in their spiritual disposition. This misconception makes it very difficult for women to advance in their careers.
The popular term “glass ceiling” explains the “invisible” obstacles that prevent women from advancing in business life and reaching top executive positions. These are “invisible” obstacles, because this limitation is never explicitly talked about. While expecting a promotion, female executive candidates who want to reach senior positions are faced with a virtual glass ceiling without knowing why.
The term ‘glass ceiling’ was first introduced in the 1970’s to describe prejudices that prevented women from reaching senior management positions in the United States.
Today, only a few women can overcome these obstacles. Moreover, the situation is the same in any part of the world.
The truth is, women are deep thinking, reliable, clever and wise beings. They are superior to men in spotting the intricate aspects of events and noticing the details. They can perform their tasks in the best way possible, make the right decisions, produce the best solutions and come up with the most rational measures. Therefore, they can achieve great success both in social life and in business life.
It must be recognized that keeping women away from business life is greatly detrimental to a society’s future. In order to become an advanced, intellectual and civilized society, it is imperative that women take center stage in that society.
In this context, women should have equal –as a matter of fact, even more – rights and freedoms; the belief that men are somehow inherently superior to women should be eliminated altogether.
The mentality that falsely claims that women lack intelligence must be urgently defeated. Women should be given priority in all areas of social life, the business world, education and politics.
At this point, we should remember that women also have important responsibilities: Women should resist with patience and vigilance the impositions of a male-dominated society, and oppose negative prejudices against them. As a matter of fact, the Queen of Saba, an example from the Qur’an, clearly proves that women can be state administrators who can take very important and to the point decisions about the most intricate problems. We should remember that God created men and women as equal. Superiority does not lie in technical details such as body strength or the amount of muscle mass, but only in good morality and faith. God explains in the Qur'an that people should be evaluated not based on gender, but on piety:
I seek refuge in God from satan.
Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God’s Sight is the one with the most piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur'an, 49:13)