What Is the Glass Cliff?

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When high-performing women in business shatter the glass ceiling, they are then introduced to the glass cliff. The glass cliff is the phenomenon where women are promoted to top positions when companies are underperforming and risk of failure is greatest.

The glass cliff was discovered in 2004. Since then, the number of women who lead top Fortune 500 companies has actually declined – today, only 4.8 percent are led by women.

Women in business still face a ton of challenges in the fight for gender equality in the workplace. Of the top Fortune 500 companies, only 4.8 percent are led by women and this number is lower currently than it has been in previous years.

When women are given top positions during times of company strife, they are then statistically given less time to turn things down than their male counterparts and more likely to be challenged by male stakeholders. Women CEOS are 45% more likely than men to be ousted from their top position and once they are let go, they are less likely to be picked up by another company.

Some high profile examples of the glass cliff in action include Carly Fiorina formerly of Hewlett-Packard and Jill Abramson former Executive Editor of the New York Times. Since Abramson’s ouster, none of the top 10 daily newspapers are led by women.

All hope is not lost for women in the workplace, though. There are some other examples of successful women who have avoided the glass cliff, such as Ginni Rometty, President of IBM and Mary Barra, CEO of GM.

Keep shattering those glass ceilings ladies, and before you consider your next promotion, make sure to read these actionable tips to make sure you are not being introduced to a glass cliff!

(The infographic below was provided by Fundera.com)

What is the Glass Cliff?