from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An unacknowledged discriminatory barrier that prevents women and minorities from rising to positions of power or responsibility, as within a corporation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An unwritten, uncodified barrier to further promotion or progression for a member of a specific demographic group.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a ceiling based on attitudinal or organizational bias in the work force that prevents minorities and women from advancing to leadership positions


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

glass, indicating transparency to allude to the unofficial nature of the limitation, and ceiling, suggesting a barrier to upward advancement.


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  • The term glass ceiling refers to situations where the advancement of a qualified person within the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of some form of discrimination, most commonly sexism or racism, but since the term was coined, "glass ceiling" has also come to describe the limited advancement of the deaf, blind, disabled, aged and sexual minorities. (From Wikipedia)

    May 18, 2008