The Glass Ceiling Myth

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On Thursday, Bloomberg News ran a piece by Carol Hymowitz lamenting Facebook’s supposed sexism.  “Most of Facebook Inc.’s more than 800 million users are women,” she wrote.  “You wouldn’t know it from looking at the board, whose seven directors are all men.”  Hymowitz pointed out that other companies, including LinkedIn and Google, have at least one female director, and only 11.3 percent of public companies have male-only boards.

So what?  Facebook is hardly female adverse.  Its COO is Sheryl Sandberg, and she’s paid almost $31 million per year.  She’ll likely own $1.7 billion worth of the company after it goes public.  Some sexism!

This is just the media’s favorite narrative about Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook – he’s a female-hating loner, as portrayed in the movie The Social Network.  And it happens to back up another of their favorite narratives: the notion that females have to face a glass ceiling at big companies.

I’m no defender of Zuckerberg – I’m happy to see that outspoken Obama backer facing the wrath of the liberal morals police.  But the glass ceiling is largely a myth.  Normally, feminists point to the supposed pay gap between women and men for doing the same work. But they always neglect to factor in time off women take for maternity leave and life decisions many women make to go into less demanding careers to leave time for family.  Correcting for those factors, there’s virtual pay equality.

Recently, the Government Accounting Office did find a pay differential between men and women … in the federal government.  Now, this is a bizarre situation because the government runs on pay schedules, meaning that everyone is put on a certain sliding scale.  There are no arbitrarily-defined salaries or bonuses.  The GAO discovered an unexplainable 7 percent pay gap between men and women.  “We cannot be sure why a persistent unexplained pay gap remains … but this may be due to the inability to account for certain factors that cannot effectively be measured or for which data are not available,” Andrew Sherrill, director of education, workforce and income security issues with the GAO, wrote. “Factors for which we lacked data or are difficult to measure, such as work experience outside the federal government and discrimination, may account for some or all of the remaining seven-cent gap.”

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  • stains

    The 20th century saw several far-reaching, life changing scams come to fruition and this is one of them – for us to convince each other that operating a home is inferior to climbing the corporate ladder. "Excuse me ladies, won't you join us in the back room and cubicles and the occasional front office? And loosen up those sex scruples while you're at it?" The pendulum has swung so far, it's incredulous that some are still whining about inequality. How come men were never required to prove their worth at running a household or community fair, if it's all about equality?

    Perhaps because men are still absent on the home front the women are now doing two jobs.

    • Paul of Alexandria

      "Perhaps because men are still absent on the home front ". Speak for yourself. I can change a diaper with the best of them.

      One problem is that women count work by the job, while men count it by the hour. A man will come home after 8 hours and say "hard day, I'm tired." His wife will have spent 6 hours washing the clothes, vacuuming, taking the kids to and from preschool, and fixing dinner. She says "I've done 4 things, he's done 1, I'm ahead." He'll say "I put in 8 hours, she put in 6, what's she griping about?"

      Besides, the interior of the house is traditionally the woman's domain. There's a reason that men are traditionally banished to the garage or the den: just try and change anything, simply because you get to vacuum and wash the dishes! Not to mention the fact that women never count changing the car's oil, cutting the grass, or fixing the plasterboard as jobs that they could and should share in!

      • aspacia

        Bull, you guy are sterotyping. I dumped a sexist ba$turd after 3 years and raised my son on my own with my parent's help. I worked, cleaned the house, we were on a corner lot, actually my son and I still own it and rent it out, weeded, changed car tires, cared for my son, two large dogs, and two cats. Currently, my son is grown, but my other half and I share chores. We both do yard and housework, and we both cook.

        BTW, true the glass ceiling does not exist anymore, but there was employment sexism during the 50's and 60's when well educated women made less than the company's gardener.

  • mrbean

    Women should stay home and make babies. Preferably, manchild. Master Chiun knows best.

    • Ghostwriter

      Just when I thought that your constant attacks on blacks are bad enough,mrbean,you've just sunk to a whole new level with your latest comment. Why don't you join the 21st Century,like the rest of us.

    • aspacia

      Having a child hurts too much. When you can have one, they you can talk. Until then, go to hell.

      • hayn

        You people should take some typing/english lessons before you shoot down someone else….Just saying.

    • aspacia


  • Fred Campbell

    The glass ceiling is, like many "Liberal" shibboleths, a fabrication.
    I, and my wife, have spent our working lives in the aerospace industry. I as a systems engineer for almost 50 years, she as an analyst in Human Resources at Hughes Aircraft.
    First, personally, I have observed many cases where aggressive women, by invoking this myth, have coerced companies to promote them into positions of management for which they were demonstrably not qualified. The disastrous personnel and management policies that followed eventually forced some of the companies to "retire" the women via stress induced disability claims (firing, for cause, would have been a legal nightmare).
    Second, my wife had the ongoing assignment of statistically analyzing the professional staff at Hughes for any indication of sexual bias in hiring and promotion. When all variables were considered (experience, training, length of service, etc.) the results were clear, there were no systemic professional differences between man and women.
    I.E., there was no glass ceiling at Hughes. Hughes management, by their words and actions were only interested in one thing, ability to perform the assignments.
    It is with a degree of irony that I note that my wife's professional success in the aerospace industry far exceeded my own. Rather than claiming some hypothetical "reverse bias" I must acknowledge that she worked harder and smarter than I.

    • aspacia

      Good information. Some companies fear hiring some women because of bs sexual harassment lawsuits. We need a system where the loser must pay all litigation expenses, hence the frivolous lawsuits would cease.

  • Amused

    Oh < I knew it just a matter of time . I read this dumb article , and was curious to see how long it would take for some moronic schmuck to seize on it as another "liberal bashing " opportunity ….lol…..and that's exactly what Shapiro wrote it for …make no mistake. We wont count Mr.Bean , since he's already compromised beyond hope , so the award goes to you CHUMP .Wear your award proudly ! Anal retentiveness is a rare commodity …

    • stains

      it's actually not all that rare

      • Amused

        you're right ….not around here it ain't .

    • Carl

      You have some beef with this author. Are you an ex-girlfriend? A man he beat out for a job? Did he steal your wife or something? Or lay claim to the car you'd been eyeing for weeks? Or maybe you're jealous because his articles appear on a web site that won't publish what you submit or he makes more money than you? Whatever your beef, it sounds about time you either seek help for it; let it go; stop reading what he writes altogether and move on; or if you find you cant help but to read him, then keep your grievances to yourself cause it's old already.

      • Amused

        Gee Carl GFY …do it now , you're too stupid to read between the lines anyway.

  • Amused

    I'd ask you Why ….you consider it a "liberal shibboleth " [nice word there ] , but you already left one pile of bullsheet , no need for a second .

  • Hildy

    One of the sadder consequences of the feminist movement has been the diminishment of the role of mother. For example, many women today look upon staying at home with their young children as a waste of their education rather than an opportunity to properly rear and teach their children during those pivotal first years. Such a task is considered so trivial that it can be handed off to strangers at a day care center, where real love is as absent as one-on-one personal attention. Yet ask many mothers in the workforce which is a simpler job: staying home or working professionally—and most will admit that it's harder at home.

    I recently caught an "old" episode of the one-time popular television drama "Thirty Something." It was either from the late 1980s or early 1990s, and in it the two main female characters had brought their toddlers to the park to play where they noticed that they were the only mothers with their kids. The rest of the children were accompanied by either a grandmother or nanny. "We're a dying breed," the one woman said. That was over 20 years ago. If they were dying back then they're probably almost extinct by now.

  • Bdubs

    What's not often mentioned is that the pay gap is not about gender, but about choices, regardless of whether you have xx or xy chromosomes.

    Generally speaking, men earn more because more men than women:

    Are willing to study boring and difficult subjects in school
    Are willing to spend more time and money on their careers
    Are willing to work longer hours
    Are willing to do boring, unfulfilling work
    Are willing to do dirty and dangerous jobs
    Are willing to travel a lot
    Are willing to relocate often
    Are willing to do stressful, less stable jobs

    …because the measure of a man is still the size of his paycheck, both in the eyes of other men and women.

    Oh, and if you want to see a big-time gender discrepancy, visit a retirement community. Chances are, women will outnumber men 4:1. Ask these women what happened to their husbands, and they'll say things like "Bob got killed when the coal mine caved in," "Joe died a few years ago from cancer that he got from working with asbestos" and "Bill was never sick until he had a heart attack and dropped dead after the company he worked at for 35 years lost its biggest customer."

    Bottom line: what men may appear to get in pay they lose in a lot of other areas, up to and including their lives.

  • guest

    "the CEOs of Yahoo, Xerox, WellPoint, Sunoco, DuPont, Avon, Pepsi, and Kraft Food — all Fortune 500 companies — are all women. So where’s the discrimination?"

    By my calculation, that means 1.6 percent of CEOs of F500 firms are women. You're so right, where's the evidence of discrimination or a glass ceiling? Haha, conservatives are so stupid.

    • Richard

      Except (assuming that they are the ONLY Fortune 500 companies with women as CEO's) that is not evidence of discrimination or a glass ceiling in and of itself.

  • Chibueze Umeakuana

    I love this article! Why hasn’t anyone commented on it?

    There is no glass ceiling, and I’m tired of people perpetuating this myth to make men bad guys and to make women victims.

    Both genders are responsible for their own choices in the workplace, and I am getting tired of people pointing fingers and blaming people for others’ shortcomings. We are all adults.

  • Carson

    This is so idiotic.
    “Unexplainable 7 percent”? Really? ‘Unexplainable’??

  • stains

    except chin-ups and slam dunking a basketball