By Ashley D. Bugeja, SIOP Blogger
In recent months, IBM released news that spurred a great deal of interest across the globe. The Fortune 500 Company announced that Virginia M. Rometty, currently a senior vice president at IBM, has been elected IBM President and CEO. According to ABC News, Rometty will be the first female CEO in the company’s prosperous 100-year history. Meanwhile, Rometty will join a small group of female CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies.
ABC News reports that when Rometty takes office in the start of the New Year the number of female CEOs of fortune 500 companies will reach a record at 18. This buzzing news poses a controversial question for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists - Has the glass ceiling been shattered?... Or just cracked?
The term “glass ceiling” was originally coined by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy Schellhardt in the Wall Street Journal in 1986. The term was meant to capture an invisible barrier, which prevents women from advancing into the highest top-level positions in corporations.
Since the original term was coined, psychologists Dr. Alice Eagly and Dr. Linda Carli have updated the terminology calling it more of a glass “labyrinth”. In their 2007 article in the Harvard Business Review, they wrote: “In truth, women aren’t turned away only as they reach the penultimate stage of distinguished career. They disappear in various numbers at many points leading up to that stage.”
These terms, the “glass ceiling” and the “labyrinth” have consistently been used to describe the unique challenges women face in taking leadership roles in organizations. However, female CEOs epitomize triumph over these obstacles. The record breaking numbers of women in these positions poses an intriguing question: Does this mean that the glass ceiling been shattered?... Or just cracked?