Glass ceiling: an unfair system or set of attitudes that prevents some people (such as women or people of a certain race) from getting the most powerful jobs
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
In my younger days, I used to see Hillary Clinton as the most powerful woman role model to look up to. I devoured her memoir “Living History”. From First Lady to a United States Senator to the Secretary of State, I cannot think of another woman in the Western Hemisphere with as much experience and ambition. Armed with a Yale law degree, three decades of political experience, she has it all. Everyone knew that it was only a matter of a few years before she declared her intention to run for the highest office in the free world. When will this woman ever stop? She won’t ever stop until she shatters the highest glass ceiling. The term “glass ceiling” is being thrown around a lot when it comes to Hillary Clinton. It usually describes invisible barrier that prevents women and minorities from reaching for high and powerful positions in the corporate world but now increasingly in other contexts. Hillary Clinton has become the poster child of feminism. Her success is viewed as success for all women.
But the very concept of a glass ceiling assumes that reaching for the highest and most powerful position is the be-all-end-all for women. Breaking that ceiling is seen as the ultimate testament to equality. Even if this means giving up on a work-life balance. It forever puts women in a victim’s position. It also trivializes the struggles of minorities including people of colour and immigrants who face barriers in all sorts of ways. In Hillary’s rise to the top, her struggle overshadows the struggles of others, who may not belong the privileged few who are bolder and louder. And what about women who simply want to live a normal life raising children and creating an environment in which their children will flourish? What about women who do not enjoy power but they are not subservient to the dictates of society? Being ambitious is not equivalent to rising to power. It is about running your life the way you want to without being shackled to anyone’s demands. Are these people any less ambitious? It is doubtful that Hillary Clinton represents all women. Her highest glass ceiling is not everyone’s glass ceiling. As much as she tries to appeal to women, she will always come across as somebody living in a different world.