Why is the Glass Ceiling in Human Resources Harder to Crack in a Female Dominated Profession?

The existence of the glass ceiling is still prevalent in many organizations, yet women continue to break the glass ceiling and ascend to the top in corporations worldwide. But in the field of Human Resources, a profession that is dominated by women since its inception, women are finding it harder to break the glass ceiling and reach the top. The problem is that ever since Human Resources was tasked with strategic business functions, men began to migrate to executive-level positions in Human Resources at an alarming rate. This raises some questions: Could this movement in Human Resources be a “silent phenomenon”? Do women in Human Resources see men as better strategic business partners and leaders than women? Do women prefer to be supervised by male leaders?

For the longest time, I attributed women’s slow progression to executive-level positions to gender discrimination and stereotypes in organizations, which in part, is true; however, when I examined the field of Human Resources that is saturated with women, I ponder whether women in Human Resources are “silent” contributors to the rapid rise of men to senior executive positions in HR? After all, Human Resources is solely responsible for recruiting, screening, interviewing, selecting, and hiring the workforce.

As an HR Executive, I contend that the gender preference in Human Resources leadership stems from, in part, societal beliefs that are rooted in women’s upbringing and society’s influence over time. Maybe it is time for the women in Human Resources to do a bit of self-examination to establish whether they have biases. This self-examination is so important for women to be able to feel powerful and champion each other. It also begins a process of transformative change in Human Resources.


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