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A situation in which a person cannot advance in an organization because of real or perceived sexism, racism or some other form of discrimination. For example, very few CEOs in the United States are women; this fact forms a glass ceiling for women in business. Glass ceilings are usually illegal but are difficult to prosecute because choosing one candidate over another is often unquantifiable.
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glass ceilingthe impenetrable yet invisible barrier which prevents most women from reaching senior management positions, despite attempts to tackle DISCRIMINATION in employment over the last twenty-five years. The glass ceiling exists because male senior managers tend to believe that the values and talents necessary for senior management positions are more likely to be found in men. In other words male managers recruit new managers in their own image.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson