Glass ceiling

A glass ceiling is a political term used to describe "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."

Initially, and sometimes still today, the metaphor was applied by feminists in reference to barriers in the careers of high achieving women. In the US the concept is sometimes extended to refer to obstacles hindering the advancement of minority men, as well as women.

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