Glass ceiling is a term that has been used to refer to the discrimination that is practiced against some genders or races with a sole intention of preventing them achieve high job profiles within the work place. It is a form of limitation that limits the minorities from getting the higher job positions within the work place. The discrimination is practiced in such a manner that there is no law that is precisely prescribed to prevent the minorities from acquiring these positions. The discriminations also does not state any form of non qualifications that may lock out this individuals from being promoted to this positions. The barriers to such positions are basically invisible. They are said to be below the surface and hence the term glass ceiling. (Ginet, 2000, p36)1
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The most common types of glass ceiling include the differentiated pay for the same job group, discrimination that is related to race, ethnic groups, gender and also religious discrimination. The other types of discrimination are practiced in such a way that we find individuals who come from a certain race, ethnic group or religion cannot be promoted to certain positions owing to their back ground (Ginet, 2000, p46)2. Glass ceiling in Israel can be manifested in the unfolding of events within the political Arena. Gender inequality in our societies has for a long time dominated between the male and the female gender. Middle East region is a good example of how gender discrimination within the society has taken root. Men have literally been associated with the top job ranks and have for long been associated with the leadership roles. The top government branches have for a long time being led by men. It is with no doubt that such glass ceiling is on the rocks especially with the winning of Tzipi Livni in her party. The formation of a coalition will see the leadership of women in all the three branches of the government. The male gender has dominated the major roles within the government for decades.
The monotony of the male gender was however broken in 2006 when Dalia Itzik became the pioneer of women in the role of Parliament speaker. Tom Segev brings describes the societies of the Middle East as “a macho Society,” in matters related to the gender discrimination (Peraino, 2008)3. The political seats are actually preoccupied with the male gender with only 8% of the seats occupied by women. The genders issues in the Middle East are not only in the political view but also are dominated in the cultural background. The culture is generally religious and the religious parties do not uphold the role of women in leadership issues. This can be well demonstrated by the refusal of papers such as Ultra-orthodox newspapers to publish pictures of women. This brings Livni a big challenge in her ambitions to for the coalition government since such papers will not even print her picture. This leaves her with the option of relying on the smaller religious groups. Livni has been faced with lot discrimination as woman leader even from other major leaders such as Ehud Barak, Sima Kadmon among others. This kind of glass ceiling has even attracted international attention such as the US (Peraino, 2008)4.
In Conclusion Glass ceiling in the Middle East is still very common in terms of both gender and cultural backgrounds. Such glass ceilings only act as barriers to the development of gender, race, ethnicity and also religions (Ginet, 2000, p50)5. It creates a very challenging environment for the female gender who wants to achieve high ambitions especially in politics. Such unfavorable conditions clearly indicate a long way in breaking the glass ceiling and the need for more Iron ladies to pursue the course.
McConnell-Ginet (2000). Breaking through the “glass ceiling”: can linguistic Awareness help. Wellington, Victoria University Press, pp35-118.
Kevin Peraino (2008).Israel’s Glass Ceiling. Web.