In 1920, women in the United States won the right to vote. By 1932, Hattie Wyatt Caraway became the first women elected to the U.S. Senate. A decade later, women entered the workforce in massive numbers, playing vital roles in production during World War II. After the war, women were again relegated to domestic life. The 1970s resulted in a renewed effort by women in America to obtain equal rights and though Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, the Equal Rights Amendment failed to achieve ratification a year later. The glass ceiling has been punctured, but it has yet to be broken.
Proving the Existence of the Glass Ceiling is Not Easy
Women have faced a constantly shifting political environment for decades, resulting in continuing cycle of advances and setbacks. Opponents of women’s rights point to the advances made as proof the glass ceiling does not exist; proponents point to setbacks to demonstrate it still does. This is the situation faced by millions of women every day in the workplace.
Professional working women continue to face multiple stereotypes, all of which serve to prevent promotions. The most persistent of stereotypes include the expectation that women are better suited to child-rearing; that they should not be the primary breadwinner in a household where there is a man; that they lack the ability to be assertive; and they are naturally the weaker sex. Adding to these stereotypes is the social element of judging according to appearance—women are more apt than men to fall victim to this fallacy. Such stereotypes result in blatant, though difficult to prove, discrimination in the workplace.
If a woman believes the glass ceiling exists at her place of employment and that she has been overlooked for a promotion because of discrimination, proving so is difficult but not impossible.
Few employers will admit that the reason for promoting or hiring someone else was because of gender, so a case made against the company must rely on circumstantial evidence. To demonstrate gender discrimination, the employee will first need to show that she was qualified for the position and applied for it. Next, the position will have to have remained open or been filled by someone with equal or lesser qualifications. If the person getting the position has better qualifications, proving discriminatory practices is not likely.
One of the best things a woman who believes the glass ceiling exists at her place of employment can do is document everything. If the boss constantly changes the requirements for a position as a ruse to avoid promotion, document it. If procedures have been significantly altered to prevent adding a woman to the position, document that. If less qualified candidates continue to obtain positions over those with better skills, document that. Document anything that seems to imply discrimination, whether against women or races, nationality, sexual orientation, or whatever. When businesses discriminate, there is usually a pattern. Establishing that pattern is vital to proving a glass ceiling in the workplace.
Chester County Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Recognize the Glass Ceiling Exists and Fight for Victims of Gender Discrimination
The Chester County discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. know that the glass ceiling exists in many businesses. We have fought discrimination for decades. If you believe you have a case against your employer or a prospective employer, contact us online today for a confidential review or call now 215-569-1999. From our Center City Philadelphia office, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.