By Erin Holly McDermott, Editor-in-Chief (‘23)
In the classroom, the workforce, and the military how does sexism affect the diversity of those locations? The phenomenon of occupations lacking diversity, specifically targeting the female population, is called the “glass ceiling effect.” Glass ceilings refer to the intangible boundaries put into place by generation-long precedents and ‘norms’. Glass ceilings have an undeniable negative effect on all occupations, however, the education system is the primary suspect for this discrimination.
From a study published by the International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering, there is a “very strong negative relationship between the well-being, self-esteem, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction and the glass ceiling.” It is the senior and mid-level managers and leadership positions that are on the opposite side of the glass ceiling faced by women and people of color. “Women continue to dominate the low-paying, low status, conventionally female professions.”
Maintaining a high-quality education, like the one provided at schools such as Indian Hills, is fundamental in combating the boundaries between women and high-earning jobs. It is the responsibility of students at Indian Hills, who represent the next generation of employees, to correct the miscommunication and misalignment between elevated positions and women or people of color.
According to the statistics of several states, the glass ceiling situation is less dire than originally thought. New Jersey has an extremely high diversity rate, as the state has the highest population based on density. According to the New Jersey Department of Education report on Certified Staff, 77.2% of teachers are reported as female. Meanwhile, only 51.4% are administrators and 68.7% are supervisors. New Jersey provides one of the more diverse statistics against glass ceilings. It is these positions, such as board of education members, school administrators, and local leaders, that are fundamental in the continuance of the breaking of the glass ceiling.
Glass ceilings are a difficult and nuanced issue that proves to be key in the patchwork of our nation. While solutions are lacking, it is a small victory for each student who breaks the glass. It is a victory to have any student—male, female, or nonconforming students—attend higher education. It is a privilege to learn and adapt, college education allows for continued growth and improvement. It is the free will of students to attend, or not, higher education, however, it is also a conscious choice to adhere or not to the glass ceiling set high above us.