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It may seem like the "glass ceiling" has always been part of the lexicon, but the metaphor actually originated in 1980 in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Alice Eagly thinks it's high time to replace it with "labyrinth."
"It's good to have a metaphor to think about a problem and organize your thoughts," she said. "But the glass ceiling metaphor is wrong on many levels."
She was keynoter at the University of Nebraska's Women in Educational Leadership conference held in Lincoln in October. A professor of social psychology and expert in management and organizations at Northwestern University IL, she is a faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research. She's co-author of Through the Labyrinth: The Truth about How Women Become Leaders published in 2007 by the Harvard Business School Press.
The glass ceiling, said Eagly, is seen as holding back those near the top of an organization. The image suggests a bunch of men sitting on a board that impede a woman's progress as she comes close to the top.
But that's passe. A disproportionate number of women drop off the fast track at all levels, for reasons as varied as family, personal choice, lack of social capital and discrimination. The obstacles for women aren't only at the top. Labyrinth of loss