‘Glass Ceiling:’ A Rebound Buzzword?

These days, the ‘glass ceiling’ meme is breaking barriers and buzzing its way to the headlines. In my effort to dissect its meaning in context, I’m showcasing ‘Glass Ceiling’ in storytelling mode which highlights the most recent noteworthy clips in politics + business + entertainment.

 What the heck is a ‘Glass Ceiling?’

Well, according to Wikipedia, it’s a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps women from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy. Go to any big corporate website and note the male to female ratio on the senior management bio pages. Get it? It’s called the ‘Glass Ceiling.” Google “women on boards.” And there you go. You have the ‘Glass Ceiling.’ Wall Street? Uh-huh. The Glass Ceiling. Number of female CEOs? You get the picture. In fact, there is even a commission on it. The United States Federal Glass Ceiling Commission defines it as:

 “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.”


Hillary Clinton is smashing the ‘Glass Ceiling’ by running for President. There is even a game about it. In her bid for presidency, Hilary declared that she’d have a Cabinet that looks like America and 50 percent of Americans are women. Besides never having a female president in the history of the United States, no woman has ever served as treasury secretary, defense secretary, or veterans affairs secretary, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutger’s.

Kellyanne Conway smashed the ‘Glass Ceiling’ when she became the first female GOP campaign manager. She’s worked alongside a myriad of noteworthy Republicans, including assisting Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich’s 2012 Presidential bids in the 1990’s when Gingrich was speaker of the House. Her response when a male cohort said she couldn’t be a campaign manager because she’s a mother?

“This smacks of misogyny and sexism, to suggest that I can’t do the job of a campaign manager – I can only go on TV. How about if I could do all of the above?”

Business + Education + Technology…

Judith Rodin smashed the ‘Glass Ceiling’ when she became the first female president of an Ivy League university, University of Pennsylvania, in 1994. Rodin now makes an impact on investing and giving. President of the Rockefeller Foundation since 2005, she helped bring philanthropy into the 21st century and is pioneering the practice of impact investing. Not to mention, 20,000 New York public school students got to see the Broadway hit “Hamilton” because of her.

Jess Lee smashed the ‘Glass Ceiling’ by becoming Sequoia’s first female venture capitalist. Despite Chairman Michael Moritz’s negative comment in 2015 that he was open to hiring more women, but didn’t want to “lower our standards,” Lee began as a partner on November 7,  and happens to be one of Sequoia’s youngest partners, at age 33. According to Bloomberg, Sequoia has been trying to persuade Lee to join the firm since 2012. Except, she was too busy leading the fashion site, Polyvore, which Yahoo acquired last year for $230 million in cash. Perhaps 44 years in business without a single female leader was cause for concern for Lee? Time to get out of the Dark Ages, Sequoia!


Samantha Bee smashed the ‘Glass Ceiling’ by becoming the first female late-night host to interview a U.S. president. Bee, the “Full Frontal” host and former Daily Show correspondent is also the first woman to helm a satirical news program.

Amy Schumer smashed the ‘Glass Ceiling’ when she became the funniest female comedian. She is now laughing her way to the bank as the first-ever woman to make Forbes’ highest paid comedians list.


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