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Glass ceilings, sticky floors

Updated: May 31, 2023

The glass ceiling is a metaphor that dates to 1978, when the American employment consultant, Marilyn Loden, explained that women were not promoted in the world of work due to a culture that obstructed their aspirations and did not promote equal opportunities. We now call that culture, that society, patriarchy. Patriarchy has systematically prevented the individual and collective growth of women. Reducing them to the private sphere in most cases, and installing barrier after barrier to prevent their rise to places of power in companies, agencies, institutions and so on…

Years, decades, centuries of oppression that still translates into alarming data such as the percentage of women who take a leave of absence to take care of their children or their elders much higher than the one regarding men. A percentage of which corresponds to those who work part-time, also to be able to keep up with the care and organization of the reproductive (home, children, family...). There are many anthropological, psychological, and sociological reasons that indicate the reason for this trend, there are studies and explanations. But what’s missing? Giant steps to break that glass ceiling and let women grow in freedom.

All those studies, all those statistics not only tell us about the glass ceiling that we can't get through even if we see what lies beyond... it also tells us about the sticky ground we walk on, the one which doesn't let us move forward, jump, run. A floor that speaks to us of obligations, responsibilities that are associated with the same sex: caring, maintaining, are still verbs that decline in the feminine.

More than 70 percent of women do household chores every day, compared to about 30% of men.

Women earn less for the same work, specifically it is estimated that as of October, if we compare with men's salaries, women work for free until the end of the year. In the number of part-time contracts in Spain, for example, the total is more than 2,500 women compared to just over 700 men. If we turn to the percentage of political positions, although laws such as parity have helped, the heads of parties, presidents, and state leaders are still men.

On the boards of directors of Ibex 35 companies, women never exceed 40%, in some cases not even 5%. Nor are we women in the film awards, in culture, in science awards, in distinctions...

We are not there, and what is not seen does not exist or generate references so that the girls from future generations want to imitate us.

They leave us glued to the ground and show us the sky, but it is covered by a glass that we never intended to be crossed.

The real problem is that even in this evidence, we did not reach a consensus and although some organizations or political groups, mostly on the left, are committed to positive discrimination, many still think that this is an injustice. Injustice is the years, decades, centuries of repression that women have endured, and reversing it will not be achieved with good intentions or lilac shirts, it is meant to be achieved with laws that impose a fairer system, until that system is normal for us and one no longer must impose it to be able to jump off the ground and cross any ceiling.

Written by Irene Sánchez

Translated by Noèlia Ribó.

Pic by Sierra Koder

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