Neil Greco

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The "Glass Ceiling" Will Reverse with Women on Top and Men on the Bottom.

In many ways, thankfully, Women are not only moving to Change the Effects of the Glass ceiling; I think they have already re-defined it; and at some point will smash it and. . . ultimately Men will experience a new Glass Ceiling of their own to contend with.

My rationale is that I think women are much more empowered now to reach their potential and have the drive and are working very hard to dispell the notion men were better or worth more compensation in the workplace, etc. I hope that curve continues. Women around the world are changing economies, etc. by becoming more succesful and taking on roles of leadership, being entrapenural, etc.

I think a primary reason or factor in the Flip of the Glass Ceiling will be that women are much more relational and better communicators in general as in comparrison to the male need to remain in a patriarchal mindset were being relational and communicating were (and I believe still are) not valued by men. The man makes decisions, expects to have them acted out, etc. I think men as a whole will not move towards the more succesful leadership style of women due to historical cultural roles and exprectations were a man 'not appear weak" etc.. For a man to stop and talk, etc. is (in my opinion) viewed as weakness by other men who view this as an opportunity to act and move up the ladder.. (my last one ->), etc.

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      Jun 25 2011: Jim,

      1. Many women don't have a choice regards parenting. If the father of the child chooses to abandon his children, the mother is left with parenting duties. It ceases to become a choice, then. And colleagues (I've heard 'em) don't tend to favor promoting single mothers, regardless her skills.

      2. Increasingly more fathers choose more active roles in parenting. Sometimes this is by default, due to economic issues. Perhaps due to the mother's job. I predict this will be an increasing situation in US military families of veterans. Other times, couples make this choice due to the fathers desires. I have a number of friends who do this.

      But this remains a significant minority, and men who do so often run into the same issues Betty Friedan (author of 1960s book The Feminine Mystique) outlined. That is, a sense of cultural isolation and loss of identity.

      Most important, in this parent/professional issue is that caregivers have a paucity of professional or policy advocates. This is left to hierarchal systems, which often have precious little insight to the compounding impact stereotyped as male institutional measurements and values often operate with, if not create.

      Why? Lack of time and fund to organize fair pay, family leave, etc. policies. Pretty hard to do when one is up to elbows and eyeballs caring for family (including sick family members and parents, which research shows more woman then men do, as well.) The recent Supreme Court decision against class-action status in Title IX case against Walmart might be an example.

      As to women who opt out of the fast-track. Though I don't know about eBay leaders, I do know some women choose not to sacrifice reputation and identity to fit into environments which churn and burn through people, if not cultural values. Or, all good intentions aside, unconsciously do.

      Finally, hope remains. I know of corporations and communities (including my own) where women hold quite powerful positions.

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        Jun 26 2011: I worked last year facilitating Restorative Parenting Classes for men who had completed their primary Domestic Abuse Program. I new area for me. An interesting thing was they really did not want to give up.. They wanted to be better dads.. The other thing was talks about the 'unfairness', of whom my co-facilitator, who also worked for the State for 25 years confirmed is that men are still perceived as the beast and if they can't afford an attorney, they aren't going near their kids. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe in protrecting victims of any type of abuse and neither my colleague or I would use this information as an excuse not to be held accountable, etc.. However, if a man were to walk in and say.. "I want a restraining order... My wife is angry, and I think she might hurt me or our children... It would be very awkward.. However, I believe when women do this.. Men are absolutely guilty until they've aquiessed to the courts dicates.

        Just a tangent :)

        I enjoyed your post

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    Jun 24 2011: Neil,

    I agree that there is an evolving ethic and momentum that values women leadership. But I think it is a stretch to say the glass ceiling will be reversed with men at the bottom. This would require premises that are far from self-evident. Such as:

    1. That patriarchal leadership forces would yield sufficiently for any sustained-enough period to result in greater concentrations of females than males in leadership. Even entities which value stereotyped as feminine leadership struggle with complicated obstacles that hold back full scale reversal.

    2. That women, if there were proportionately more of them than men leading organizations, would depart en-masse from the stereotyped as feminine styles such as relational communications skills and suddenly adopt the same styles that kept them out of power-circles.

    3. That men, seeing the value of stereotyped as feminine leadership styles, wouldn't if they aren't already adapting their styles to maximize their success.

    While it's true more woman achieve graduate degrees, it is not true this confers them access to equity. In fact, it appears from recent research the higher the degree, the greater the compensation disparity. eg: Male PhDs and MDs make more than female colleagues with the same credentials and experience. This, of course, echoes societal pay gaps. In the U.S. these have long hovered around 70%, in spite of both legislative and organizational policies.

    My view (and experience) is the most successful organizations, communities and people work quite hard to make any ceilings at once and continually transparent and permeable. What this takes is a mighty big cultural shift. Which sometimes, but not always, happens only in wake of failure.

    And is best done by partnering, not isolating, male-style and female-style models. All are critical for sustained success. And are prudent for all leaders (parents to politicians to company presidents) to engage in themselves and others, regardless sex.

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      Jun 26 2011: It may be a stretch.. but once upon a time it was an insurmountable gap... I just wanted to generate some discussion.... In part because I think men still think something like this could never happen. That they will always hold the keyes to the washroom.

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    Jun 24 2011: Women had their revolution decades ago and had to face much discrimination and disapproval by their opponents and own kind just like you had described it in the last paragraph of your description. I think men are just in the infancy of going through their own revolution as well.
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      Jun 25 2011: Nhan,

      I agree. And am glad. But revolutions aren't easy. And can lead, as the feminist movement occasionally has to quite unintended consequences. Not to say equity for human potentials for any sex isn't a critical cause. It is. Only that any effort that requires quantifying a problem, risks putting people into polarizing camps. My hope is this one won't.

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    Jun 23 2011: I believe a woman deserves to have equal opportunities in career circles.

    You're bandying about some pretty big stereotypes in there, though.
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      Jun 23 2011: You sure about that? Can you tell me if a woman is earning as much as a male in a similar position? I don't think we're done yet as far as equality. However, my opinion is Women will keep up their momentum towards equality (which has been an injustice for them) and not stop but keep going until they surpass men. I think it would be poetic justice.
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        Jun 23 2011: There is definitely still plenty of room for equality. It's a recent news point in New Zealand. I think it depends more on the productivity of the individual than the gender.

        I'm a teacher by day and we all get paid the same (too little!) and it is dependent on qualification and experience (years in the job) rather than anything else, so I don't have a lot of knowledge about the private sector - which, as I understand it, is where this issue is most notable.

        By stereotypes, I mean that you seem to paint women in a more positive light than men and I believe we are all as bad/good as each other.
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          Jun 24 2011: Scott, being a teacher, have you noticed the difference in males in the past decade in regards to their drive and ambition, social skills and plain old "wonderment"? There is a problem here in the states that I had not noticed when I taught in Serbia. What is is like there??

          (and see my post below if you want more info about what I am talking about)

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          Jun 25 2011: Scott,

          I'm not sure about New Zealand's pay policies.

          But in the US professions in public sector and/or with organized labor advocates, including military and K-12 public educators, provide pay-equity that does not always translate to private sector.

          And I'd have to see some really robust data to agree with you that non-regulated pay-inequietes are due in any significant measure to productivity.

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        Jun 24 2011: Neil, to me this is an important topic.

        However even thoughI do think your subject heading is correct, I am not too sure about all of your reasons. I think it is due to what is happening to our American males and the it first came to the limelight in 2003 with observations as found in this article and when after it came out, it was discovered that across the board, there were more women in college than men. And being a teacher, I had noticed the decline in drive even before this, but it really hit me when I witnessed that at my daughter's Senior Honors night, when those who had made honor roll and high honor roll were recognized, there were only 6 boys out of over 50 students; yet, when they brought up those who had made over 1200 on the SAT all were male sans one female! AND were they going to college? I found out later that only half due to their grades, and to me that is a travesty.

        We are failing our boys in a way...but too, they are failing themseves and what came out a few years ago is that same question is being asked by authors (, and parents ( ; ), and teachers like me who ask them point blank what their 5-10 year goals are and many say don't have any, and employers like my brother who could not find any Am. men to fill engineering positons and had to go overseas.

        But it is more than this as it bothers me when I watch my local news on weekends (which isn't prime time), and there are NO male anchors at all! Females are doing news, weather and sports, and I am agog for this tells me not a lot of men are going into this field. The same thng is at my bank; all women except the manager.

        Neil, the "glass ceiling" has reversed, and the men are not just at the bottom, they have almost disappeared.
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          Jun 24 2011: Linda do you think it is possible to teach to both sexes equally at the same time. I not talking about going back to when we segregated boys from girls, but instead find a way to acknowledge differences. If you haven't checked out Ali Carr-Chellman speech on this you should,

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          Jun 24 2011: Hi Linda,

          I think we are witnessing the effects of the rise of feminism.

          I did a paper once at uni (for what that's worth) that stated that masculinity has traditionally been defined by what is NOT feminine. Given that women are gaining equality across the social spectrum (I know there is still some work to be done here), the line differentiating the masculine from the feminine is blurring and disappearing.

          What's left for men to claim as their own?

          Traditional male traits are no longer valued in modern society. Many male attributes, once considered worthwhile, are cast in a negative light.

          Protectiveness often seems perceived as jealousy;

          The man's traditional role as breadwinner is fast disappearing and yet women are still considered more emotional and nurturing than men;

          Physical strength and aggression no longer has a legitimate place beyond the sports-field;

          Even ridiculous fallacies like 'multi-tasking' seem to present women as superior.

          Boys have few decent role-models presented by a stupid and sensationalist mass media.

          Last but not least, there are still way too few men in teaching roles.

          We will find a way through this, but in my country, 'girl-power' has been banged on about for a good 30 years now.

          This was a necessary thing at the time, but now we need to do the same for boys who, by the same movement, have been labelled too physical, disruptive and unable to focus.
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        Jul 4 2011: "Can you tell me if a woman is earning as much as a male in a similar position?"

        I've taken a closer look at many studies that were featured in German news media, and they were all faked ridiculously. A quite harmless way is to disregard overtime, for example. Another one consists in comparing the income in dependence of the official qualification, no matter whether one works as a Chief Developers for Google or is driving taxis. Currently our media uncovers the scandal that our female National Football players don't get the same payment as the males "for the same work". What the media doesn't say is that the quality of our Women Football players is so bad that they even lose against teenage teams - regularly! And those don't only get no money for their exercise hobby, but have to *pay* for training.

        So if there is a gap in the payment, how come that all the studies I examined needed to be forged? And I am not talking about invented numbers, I only took a short glance at the admitted methods. That doesn't even come close to the issue of confusing correlation with causation, which would be the next fundamental fallacy that these studies are committing. In other words: Even the most fervent, educated and well-financed "exposers" of supposed sex discrimination in payment are convinced that they cannot conduct actual studies. Better proof isn't possible without relocating funds to non-prejudiced researchers.

        And please, don't take my word for it. Check it for yourself. The next time you read the tale of the income gap, check the study that is cited. What criteria were used to form the groups for comparison? Which confounding variables were accounted for and how were they controlled? If someone succeeds in finding a study that a statistician in first semester wouldn't be able to tear apart and which gets presented in the German "quality" news media, please send me a link. I haven't encountered a single such case in my life...
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          Jul 5 2011: Ray,

          Can't answer your question unless you cite the studies you claim are "forged."

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        Jul 5 2011: "Can't answer your question unless you cite the studies you claim are "forged." "

        Sure you can. Search for a prominent article from a online or offline German newspaper or news magazine that is generally considered to be "high quality" (Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Spiegel Online...) dealing with the supposed income gap. Then look up the study cited. Then examine the used methods. And then wonder why it needed to be forged.

        In the last ten years, the awareness for such forgery has increased. That is why I prefer Spiegel Online by the way, because they have the largest, most active and most convenient comment function. Sometimes the newspaper even points out the flaws of the study cited itself, sparing me the few minutes I would have needed to find that out myself. For example, a simple Google search for "spiegel frauen einkommen" leads to an article from 2010 that titles "Income gap between men and women increases". However, the article surprisingly states that "the numbers don't allow conclusion regarding the difference in pay between men and women who have the same job, a similar function and according degrees". Probably only because it was part of the official press release. So this study doesn't even seem to *try* to make claims that it can't defend.

        And yet the gap is named "latent discrimination" in the article, and the EU Commissioner for Justice and Basic Rights, Viviane Reding, called it "inacceptable", demanded "more ambition" and announced fast measures. Typical socialist ideology according to which a person's pay should not be dependent of his profession or performance, in particular if that person owns a vagina...

        I have yet to see a study by the Federal Office for Statistics where other influences that were not accounted for are at least named. The best I ever got is that they admitted that such influences exist. That is honest and respectable, but only half of the way, because such a general disclaimer can't save much worse stats either.
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          Jul 6 2011: Ray,

          Can you provide links to some of the many studies you've looked at that support your claim they are faked?

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        Jul 5 2011: So how to do it right? Conduct a scientific study that takes all relevant aspects into account. That means:

        - Don't ignore degree, profession, job experience, position in the company, job tenure, part-time vs. full-time, collective bargaining coverage, working hours, company size and geographical location among others. A few studies of this quality do exist, at least at first glance.
        - Especially don't forget relevant personality characteristics influencing pay negotiations, something that I have never seen being accounted for in any study ever.
        - Use statistical methods to form groups out of the data, instead of applying preconceived categories. This is not only avoided regarding gender issues, but in many social studies in general, rendering a large part of them pseudo-scientifical.
        - ????
        - PROFIT!!!

        To the present day, not a single such study has never been conducted, no matter the amount of money, decades of research, numbers of universities involved et cetera. And the task is not impossible! So one should consider the possibility that this business is nothing more than an ideologically motivated hunt for a non-existing phantom...either that, or the phantom exists, but the people who are interested in examining it rationally don't. I don't know what would be worse.
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        Jul 6 2011: @ Andrea

        Yes, I can name you faked studies. When I google for "verdienst männer frauen", my first result is an article from 2007 that leads to the website . It cites a "study" by a "research institute" by the Confederation of German Trade Unions. One that has so many methodical errors that I don't even know where to start. The most blatant flaw is that it is a non-representantive online-survey, which alone renders it completely useless. But what's worse is that I can basically type in any crap I like to in order to influence the statistics ("Vielen Dank für Ihre Mühe und Ihre Zeit. Ihre Daten sind nun erfasst und werden in den künftigen Lohn- und Gehalt Spiegel einbezogen.") I was even able to fill it out twice!

        And from this data they conclude: ""Zum Teil werden Frauen schlechter bezahlt, weil sie Frauen sind", fasst WSI-Experte Dr. Reinhard Bispinck die WSI-Analyse zusammen." They don't even try to explain how this conclusion follows from their collected "facts". Only once they address statistical issues, and there they write "Es handelt sich nicht um eine repräsentative Befragung. Die große Zahl von Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern gewährleistet jedoch verlässliche Orientierungsgrößen." An actual statistician would *never* say such a thing! The Literary Digest believed exactly the same once, a mistake they would never recover from because their electoral predictions where lightyears away from reality. And that was in frakking 1936!

        You are free to take a closer look at that "study", I just wrote down what I found and figured out within a few minutes.
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    Jul 6 2011: Hi Neil,

    I am not sure I agree with your conclusion as expressed above. While I am frustrated by the ongoing problem of having people defined by their bodies, I think we are all learning as we move along in this process. Women love men. We even have a tendency to defer to them to our own detriment and that is not going away any time soon. Even so, as more women- who are actually acting like women- and not just pseudo men in order to succeed - get into positions of power and influence, I believe that they will tend to be more inclusive of all. Generalities are often too reductionist but women tend to work toward a group harmony and the benefit of the whole. As more women are able to use their full potential they will naturally want that for all others. None of us are willing to sacrifice that happiness of our sons to prefer only our daughters. I think the secret will be in enabling people to be exactly who they are and to bring that unique set of talents to the table. In the corporate world I think that could be facilitated by 'blind' interviews as illustrated by the musical auditions in the book 'Blink' by Malcolm Gladwell.

    I still fear how quickly women can lose all of their rights and progress as evidenced by the current role of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over. The great creator of dis-equalibrium in this world is the willingness to use violence and very few women are willing to resort to that tactic- thus there will always be the risk of might makes right.
    • Jul 22 2011: Hey Debra,

      I don't think that women "naturally want that (all people use their full potential)", at least I do not think it is inherent to being a woman. I also do not think that women "have a tendency to defer to (men) to their own detriment" in all, and perhaps even in most situations. Finally, it is not necessary that most women inherently are "more inclusive of all". I think your statements are more near-sighted and rosy-coloured. I think that women, as a group, will continue to define themselves but that the definition is not necessary so good-natured. I have a hunch that you will bring up a litany of charges against men or patriarchal institutions. If not, then forgive me for my assumption.

      I think that your mention of Afghani women is disingenious, and rather Starbuckish, ie., oh look i know the current moral fad. The topic implies women in Western states, and bringing up Afghani women, while a cute display of solidarity, misses the topic.
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    Jul 5 2011: Neill,

    You might take a look at this question, related to yours:

    There are others who seem to agree with your theme.

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    Jun 24 2011: I can not believe people think this is done.. I did not even mention women on a global scale.. or TEDs support of women.. W E I R D
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      Jun 25 2011: Nell,

      Feminine-style change is often not "high tell." My observation is that the momentum you (and I) sense burbling is, as much of the suffragists and feminists movements was achieved, happening in feminine-style relational enclaves.

      But your observation gets to the crux of the problem, particularly in our media-driven cultures. Where "in your face" is what seems to influence most.

      Sara Evans book "Born for Freedom" gets at how this has worked in the US, since the countries founding.

      Meanwhile, declines in corporate and institutional ethics might well trigger an accidental innovation. Wherein stereotyped as masculine style leadership so sufficiently collapses civic and cultural outcomes that feminine style leadership "wins" by default (or, in the case of politics, disgust).

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      Jun 25 2011: Neil, I think in some sectors of American life is has been ALMOST done.... but not totally yet. However, one must look at the reverse of this where men have entered previously predominant female careers and are still rising in these ranks- flight attendants, nursing and personal assistants. What I had mentioned were trends that I have noticed due to the disparity like in broadcasting. Had one anchor been a male, I probably wouldn't have noticed; but when 2 of my 3 local stations had only women at the desk, I went hmmmmm which made me think about my male students who have no real drive or plans...and unless something happens, that is the reality of our future.

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      Jun 29 2011: Neil,

      I attended an event today regards women leadership. Dee Dee Meyers, who worked in the Clinton White House, and wrote the book "Why Women Should Rule the World" was the speaker.

      The good news: 1200 people attended. I imagine most of whom would agree with you views.

      The bad news: Mark Dayton, the Governor of Minnesota canceled at the last minute, due to wrestling with mostly male legislators to avert a government shutdown.

      Dayton sent a woman colleague to speak in his behalf. I haven't decided if his choice on whom to send is a sign of progress for female leaders or evidence of how far political regression has gone.