Gender and the Glass Ceiling at Work



The glass ceiling is a popular metaphor for explaining the inability of many women to advance past a certain point in their occupations and professions, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. In this article, we review sociological research on glass ceiling effects at work. We discuss the current state of the glass ceiling, methodological and theoretical concerns with research in this area, and a number of the key factors that contribute to the creation and maintenance of glass ceiling effects, including selection effects, cultural capital, homophily, networking, gender stereotypes, gender discrimination and occupational segregation, and characteristics of organizations. We conclude with a discussion of research that is aimed at lessening gendered glass ceiling disparities in the workplace.