Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

MENTOR - JARGON BUSTER

  • Comment
What is the glass cliff?...
What is the glass cliff?

At the point when women are breaking through the glass ceiling in business and the public sector, the phrase 'the glass cliff' has come into use. This describes the position of women who are appointed to senior positions in a bid to boost equal opportunities, but are put into jobs where they are doomed to failure.

The phrase came to the fore when the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives released a report that claimed that women are more likely to be appointed as chief executives at difficult councils, then replaced by a man once they have turned the council around.

Dr Alex Haslam, professor of psychology at the University of Exeter, who coined the phrase, described it as 'an invisible form of discrimination' and warned that, while it may be a more subtle barrier than the glass ceiling, it is one which is just as strong.

Often, when women are being offered senior roles, they are unaware of the implications of the appointment both on their personal careers and on the way women as a whole are perceived as candidates for leadership positions.

Dr Haslam added: 'There is massive evidence that this practice of recruiting women in roles where there is increased likelihood of failure is widespread across the private and public sector.

'It is a key issue when we look at leadership positions. It's important to be aware of its existence just as much as the existence of the glass ceiling and what the implications are.

'Women may be given the same number of opportunities, but they are not the same type. We need to elaborate more on the definition of equal opportunities.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.