Discrimination, Harassment, and the Glass Ceiling: Women Executives as Change Agents

Abstract

In this article, we discuss the relationships between discrimination, harassment, and the glass ceiling, arguing that many of the factors that preclude women from occupying executive and managerial positions also foster sexual harassment. We suggest that measures designed to increase numbers of women in higher level positions will reduce sexual harassment. We first define and discuss discrimination, harassment, and the glass ceiling, relationships between each, and relevant legislation. We next discuss the relationships between gender and sexual harassment, emphasizing the influence of gender inequality on sexual harassment. We then present recommendations for organizations seeking to reduce sexual harassment, emphasizing the role that women executives may play in such efforts and, importantly, the recursive effects of such efforts on increasing the numbers of women in higher level positions in organizations.

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Bell, M.P., Mclaughlin, M.E. & Sequeira, J.M. Discrimination, Harassment, and the Glass Ceiling: Women Executives as Change Agents. Journal of Business Ethics 37, 65–76 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014730102063

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  • discrimination
  • gender equity
  • glass ceiling
  • harassment
  • women executives