The glass ceiling is an expression appeared in the United States at the end of the 1970s. This concept was first used in the Elia Kazan film, The Invisible Wall (1947). It became popular in 1986 following an article published in the Wall Street Journal; it referred to the fact that, in a hierarchical structure, the higher levels are not available to certain categories of persons. Although in this article, the term was used to stress the difficulty of access of women to senior positions, it is used since for other categories of persons. This expression is now common to refer to any case where an individual is confronted with a network of tacit, implicit, or even occult power that exclude the person from a higher level of power or pay, which he or she could claim.
More and more leaders are convinced of the importance of promoting the work of women. According to the list prepared by Ethics & Boards shows real equality in three companies: PSA Peugeot Citroën, Publicis and Virbac, with exemplary feminization and parity between mem and women in occupying leading positions. Nine others (including Nexity, Technip, Eurofins and Hermès International) have surpassed the 40% prescribed by law. With regard to the Executive Committees, Icade and Sodexo showed as low as 42.9% of women; CNP Assurances, JC Decaux, Orange and Technicolor have exceeded the 30% threshold provided by law, while Areva, CGG Veritas, Club Mediterranee and Kering have reached it only recently.
Whole swathes of the economy however lack women. In Europe, only 12% of trades are mixed. Women are over-represented in education, health and the ‘social’ sector and under-represented in the production and engineering. As it is shown in details in the work The Trades Have a Sex? by laboratory of equality (Belin), young girls do not rush into the engineering schools and even are less intending to technical careers. However, 86% of the French interviewed for the Syntec digital-BVA barometer declare that these occupations offer exciting prospects for women. Seventy-two percent believe in their skills qualify them for multi-purpose, 39% for avant-garde, and 27% for entrepreneurs.
However, there still a lot of obstacles for women to break through the glass ceiling on their development in the professional sphere: out of schools, graduates with equivalent positions and education, for their first job, they ask an average 5 000 euros less per year than men. This difference in wages will continue throughout their careers.
Certainly, for the time being, this good tendency is obvious, but for how long? The parity of the first Government of the French President Francois Hollande, continued the tradition in the Government of Manuel Valls, allowed to move the lines.
Women can only be satisfied, but the ambition displayed at the beginning of five years lost its pace.
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