Friday, September 5, 2008

Are women facing a glass ceiling?

It's been exciting to see two strong women in this year's U.S. presidential race, first Hillary Clinton, and now Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Some people still judge women harshly for focusing on their career, thinking they should focus on family instead or fulfill more traditional gender roles. Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is an example of a powerful woman in politics who has been able to have both a successful career and large family.

Ms. Palin gave a speech this past Wednesday at the Republican National Convention. In her speech she made the statement “women can walk through any door in America,” referring to the opportunities that they are able to pursue. If this is true, why do you think there are so few women in politics and top positions in business? Are women less interested in these positions, or are they still facing a "glass ceiling" in these fields?

The idea of a glass ceiling is that there are invisible barriers that prevent someone from advancing into higher-level positions in their career field. These “invisible barriers” include factors such as age, race, and gender. Men are often paid more and favored for promotion over women. Many women also feel that they face stereotypes in the professional world, such as unfair doubt about their ability to lead and persuade.

Do you agree with Ms. Palin's statement? Do you think that women and men have equal career opportunities in America? Is a glass ceiling still present? Does a woman’s desire to pursue a family play a large role in whether or not she can have a successful career? What can women do to continue moving forward?

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