Glass ceilings, glass parasols and Australian academic archaeology

01st June 2006

Smith and Burke Figure 12 AA62Claire Smith and Heather Burke

The ‘glass ceiling’ was a term coined to depict the invisible yet impenetrable barriers met by women seeking to advance to the uppermost levels of the corporate ladder. It is not simply a barrier encountered by an individual, but rather applies to particular groups of people who are kept from advancing as a result of attitudinal and organisational biases and internal systems that operate to the career disadvantage of women and minorities. Within the discipline of archaeology an interest in the status of women in the workplace was a core facet of an emergent archaeology of gender. Much has been accomplished since then, and in the early twenty-first century women are a fundamental part of the archaeological social landscape. But, despite this, have women really achieved equity in the workplace? Or is equity something that still needs to be pursued actively? How do women’s careers shape up when compared to those of men? Does the metaphorical glass ceiling exist in archaeology? Or is it simply a glass parasol that women hold up for themselves? How far have women come since the feminist push of the early 1990s?

Image caption: Glass parasols? (published in Australian Archaeology 62:21).
Claire Smith and Heather Burke
Glass ceilings, glass parasols and Australian academic archaeology
June 2006
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