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Instead of an epilogue: Women leaders remain under a ‘glass ceiling:

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References: Bibliography

This final chapter of the third section of this book takes a brief look at a very serious, still lingering and
unresolved issue, namely that of the absence of women in numbers proportional to their demographic
share in leadership positions in political, economic and academic institutions in all 193 countries of the
U.N. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it took almost twenty five centuries from the fifth ('the
golden century of Pericles and Athens') to the 20th century for women to leave behind them the classic
roles of 'getting married, giving birth to children and spending their lives in household chores'. In the
ancient Athenian and Roman societies, as History verifies, only selected upper class women could get
some formal education or be involved, indirectly and behind the scenes, in public life and public affairs.

It was not until World War II erupted, forcing the enlisting of millions of men in the Armed Forces,
that the massive entrance of women in the world of private and public enterprises and organizations,
either as low-ranking production personnel or as secretaries and telephone centre operators, became an
absolute necessity. Surely during the 19th and early 20th century there were some women present in the
world of science, organizations and enterprises but, leaving aside the exceptions which as the popular
maxim goes 'simply exist to prove the rule', it was not until the middle of the 20th century that women,
in substantially large numbers, entered colleges and universities to acquire degrees in liberal arts and
sciences and to enter, subsequently, as entry level management personnel the world of private business
enterprises or public organizations.

Women in Politics

The passing away of Baroness Margaret Thatcher in April 2013, the first and until today the only female
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who had won the historic characterization as the "Iron Lady",
brought to mind the continuing grim reality bordering on the verges of gender discriminations. Indeed,
with regards to holding posts in the higher ranks of private and public enterprises and organizations
and in the political institutions, with a small number of noted exceptions related mostly to Royalty and
Royal families (from the time Cleopatra ruled Egypt as a pharaoh), twenty centuries had to pass to see
women being elected or appointed to hold posts as Prime Ministers or Presidents of their countries.

During the 20th century, among the few dozens of women political leaders who held the office of Prime
Minister or President of their Nation some familiar names are Isabel Peron of Argentina, Sirimavo
Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, Indira Gandhi of India, Corazon Aquino of the Philippines, Helen Clark of
New Zealand, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Golda Meir of Israel, Tansu Ciller of Turkey, Milka Planinc
of Yugoslavia, Edith Cresson of France, Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, VigdĂ­s FinnbogadĂłttĂ­r of
Iceland and, of course, the "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher of the U.K.

In 2012 only 18 of the 193 Nations comprising the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization
had a woman as head of State. Specifically there were 9 women holding the office of President and 9
holding the office of Prime Minister in their respective Nations. In alphabetical listing the 9 countries
where a woman is President are: Argentina (Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Brazil (Dilma Rousseff),
Costa Rica (Laura Chinchilla), India (Platibha Patil), Kosovo (Atifete Jahjaga), Liberia (Ellen Sirleaf-
Johnson), Lithuania (Dalia Grybauskaite), Malawi (Joyce Banda) and Switzerland (Eveline Widmer
Sclumpf). The 9 countries where a woman serves as prime Minister are: Australia (Julia Gillard),
Bangladesh ('Sheik' Hasina Wajed), Denmark (Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Germany (Angela Merkel),
Iceland (Johanna Siguoadottir), Jamaica (Portia Simpson-Miller), San Marino (Antonella Mularoni),
Thailand (Yingluck Shinawatra), Trinidad & Tobago (Kamla Persad-Bissessar).

In the FORBES list of the 100 powerful women who 'run the world' the first ten places are held, in
leading order, by Frau Angela Merkel, (Germany), Mrs. Hillary Clinton, (USA). Mrs. Dilma Rousseff
(Brazil), Mrs. Melinda Gates (USA), Mrs. Jill Abramson (USA), Mrs. Sonia Gandhi (India), Mrs. Michelle
Obama (USA), Mrs.. Christine Lagarde (France), Mrs. Janet Napolitano (USA) and Mrs. Sheryl Sandberg
(USA). The FORBES 100 powerful women list refers to women active in politics, business, the Media
and Humanitarian endeavours.

Women in the Economy and in Higher Education

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman presented in 2012, in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, a brief
review of their research under the title 'Are Women Better Leaders than Men?' Their study which concluded
in 2011 involved 7,280 leaders. Their dataset included leaders from some of the most, 'successful and
progressive organizations in the world both public and private, government and commercial, domestic
and international.' The two authors admitted that their findings 'confirm some seemingly eternal truths
about men and women leaders in the workplace but also hold some surprises.'

In the confirmation category the two authors reported that the majority of leaders (64%) are still men
and amongst them 78% of top managers were men as were 67% at the next level down (i.e. senior
executives reporting directly to top managers at top management) and 60% at the manager level below
that. Among the surprises they mention is the fact that on all levels examined women were rated by
peers, bosses, direct reports and other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts.

In the authors list of 16 competencies top leaders exemplify most they report that women were rated
higher in 12 of the 16. Indeed in two of them in which men were always thought to surpass women,
namely taking initiative and driving for results, women outscored men to the highest degree. However,
on the competency of the ability to develop a strategic perspective, men outscored women significantly.

As the global scale, non-profit organization 'Catalyst', which has offices in the USA, Canada, Europe
and India, reported (2013), there were 21 women CEOs in the 2012 FORTUNE 500 list (representing
4.2% of CEOs) and another 21 women CEOs in the 2012 FORTUNE 1000 list (also representing 4.2%
of all CEOs).

Referring to a meeting of four women Presidents of American Colleges and Universities held in
Washington, D.C. (4th Annual Forum of Women in Leadership), David Moltz (2011) brought forth
some interesting statistics noting that about 23% of all American College and University Presidents
are women while 57% of the total number of enrolled students are female. Indeed only 494 of the 2148
Institutions of Higher learning in America have women Presidents while the total of women Presidents
in Community Colleges is 29%.

Things are not comparatively better in the UK and, as John Morgan (2011) reports, out of the 157 Higher
Education Institutions only 17 are run by a woman Vice-Chancellor (it is known that in the UK the post
of Chancellor is mostly Honorary and the Vice-Chancellor is the executive in charge) and only one of
the Russell Group of large Research intensive Universities is headed by a woman. According to estimates
by the European Universities Association, about 10% of the 850 European Universities are headed by
a woman Rector but it should be noted that in many countries the Rector, (the President in the US or
the Vice-Chancellor in the UK), is elected by university colleagues and not appointed by Governmental
Authorities or Boards of Trustees.

Within the spirit of approaching this, in my humble opinion, very serious matter and for purely academic
purposes, it should be noted that between 1901 and 2012 the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic
Sciences were awarded 555 times to 863 Laureates including 839 individuals and 24 organizations. Only
44 of the 839 Laureates were women.

The metaphor of the 'glass ceiling' refers to an unseen, but simultaneously real and existing barrier,
that keeps women from rising to the upper levels of corporate and organizational ladders even when
they objectively, judged on the merits of their achievements, experience and other qualifications fulfill
all necessary requirements. The Chairman of the United States Federal 'glass ceiling' Commission, the
Honorable Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, in his introductory message to a relevant report published
by the U.S. Department of Labor in March 1995 under the title 'Good For Business: Making Full Use of
the Nation's Human Capital' wrote:

'The term "glass ceiling" first entered America's public conversation less than a decade ago, when The
Wall Street Journal's "Corporate Woman" column identified a puzzling new phenomenon. There seemed
to be an invisible – but impenetrable – barrier between women and the executive suite, preventing them
from reaching the highest levels of the business world regardless of their accomplishments and merits.

The phrase immediately captured the attention of the public as well as business leaders, journalists, and
policy makers…Thanks to the leadership and vision of Secretary Elizabeth Dole – and that of her able
successor, Secretary Lynn Martin – the Department of Labor became closely involved in identifying and
publicizing the glass ceiling problem, issuing a Report on the Glass Ceiling Initiative in 1991. Senator
Robert Dole introduced The Glass Ceiling Act enacted with only minor changes as Title II of the Civil
Rights Act of 1991. It established the bipartisan Glass Ceiling Commission, with the Secretary of Labor
as its chair…'. (p. iii.)

In the same preamble to that report Secretary Reich mentioned that 97% of the senior managers of Fortune
1000 industrial and Fortune 500 companies were white and 95% to 97% were male. In Fortune 2000
industrial and service companies, 5% of senior managers were women and of that 5%, virtually all are
white. In another report published by the U.S. Department of Labor in November 1995 under the title "A
Solid Investment: Making Full Use of the Nation's Human Capital' Secretary Reich wrote in his message:

'The "glass ceiling" is a concept that betrays America's most cherished principles. It is the unseen, yet
unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate
ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.' (p. 4)

In reality there seems to be (as has been the case with other popular terms) a vacuum of tested and
verifiable confirmation of the name of the creator of the term 'glass ceiling'. If one undertook the task of
trying to trace the term's origin through various means including Google, this point would come through
clearly. The term, as the above mentioned report of the Secretary of Labor indicated and is mentioned in
an article by A.H. Eagly and L.L. Carli in the Harvard Business Review, was thought to have been used
for the first time in the relevant article by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy Schellhardt in the March 24,
1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal. As it turns out the term was used in a March 1984 Adweek
article by Gay Bryant who at the time was editor of the Working Woman magazine. Indeed Gay Bryant
collaborating with three other co-authors published in 1984 the book 'The Working Woman Report:
Succeeding in Business in the 80's'. Be it as it may the 'glass ceiling' term describes a reality which few
will deny that, for a multitude of reasons, has been and continues to be in existence today.

Cotter et al (2001) in a relevant study found that the 'glass ceiling' phenomenon is a reality in the careers
of Afro-American and White women. This reality continues to exist not only despite the introduction and
enforcement of the historic 'Civil Rights Act of 1964' which aimed at banning all forms of discrimination,
but of the Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 by the 'Glass Ceiling Commission' was officially
established. A February 2011 Survey by the 'Institute of Leadership and Management', reported by the
BBC, suggested that things are not much better for British women managers and their place under
the 'glass ceiling'. Published with the title 'Female managers say glass ceiling intact – survey' the BBC
reported that three quarters of the women taking part in this survey are still facing barriers to promotion
to higher corporate ladders.

Closing this book where I have paraphrased the Cartesian maxim of 'I think therefore I am' and used
as a subtitle my 'I communicate therefore I am' I do recognize that, in a Weberian sense, private and
public enterprises and organizations on a global scale continue to belong to the Patriarchal type of
authority structure. I will close my book wondering how much more time and what type of personality
will be needed in order to reach the point where a woman manager will paraphrase another historically
significant maxim, that of Marx and Engels, calling on a global scale '…women managers to unite as they
will have nothing to loose but a glass ceiling keeping them trapped in the middle rungs of corporations
and organizations…'


  1. Communication is a universal phenomenon: system of 4 components
  2. Human Communication: scheme of human communication, defining
  3. Body Language: darwins contribution, intrigue of body language
  4. Mass Media & social media: stone inscription, printing process
  5. The Role of attitudes in human communication: defining attitudes
  6. The birth of a speciality: roots in antiquity, historic glimpse
  7. Publics, Public Opinion and its moulders: historical evolution, term
  8. Rhetoric, Persuasion and Propaganda: rome, love, definitions, variety
  9. Corporate Communication & Responsibility: corporate communication
  10. Press releases, special events and sponsorships: PR specialist
  11. Leaders and Leadership: pantheon of leaders, persons, injustice
  12. Leadership, Power, Authority & Charisma: events, political, financial
  13. Leadership research at the Universities of Iowa, Ohio & Michigan:
  14. Modern theories of leadership in Private and Public Enterprises and Or
  15. Instead of an epilogue: Women leaders remain under a ‘glass ceiling:
  16. References: Bibliography
  17. The Author: Dr Georgios P. Piperopoulos, sociology, psychology