Professor Kimberly S. Adams brought her lecture and moderated open forum “Women and Politics: Shattering the Glass Ceiling, One Vote at a Time” to Lock Haven Tuesday evening. Adams is a professor of political science at East Stroudsburg University. The lecture covered topics specific to women in the political sphere and the workplace, as well as an overview of women who have helped to facilitate equality. Adams talked about gender parity, lack of representation at the congressional level, and the importance of civic engagement.
The Glass Ceiling can be defined in a number of ways, but a general definition would be “an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities.” Adams explained that the glass ceiling effect is perpetuated in a number of ways. “Word-of-mouth” recruiting occurs when the only way to get a job is to have a friend that tells you about an opening. This often unfairly leaves out candidates who are not in the same social sphere as the recruiter, and ensures the lack of diversity in the workplace. This practice would also denote a lack of responsibility by senior management. Adams also spoke to the lack of developmental opportunities for women, and lack of mentoring in the workplace. Harassment in the workplace was also discussed along with the stereotypes and prejudice that give it safe harbor.
Part of the presentation included advice on “tools to assist in shattering your glass ceiling.” Adams highlighted civic engagement as one of the most important means of helping yourself break gendered barriers. Civic engagement comes in many forms, from campaigning for candidates that support your beliefs, to being active in the community, and of course voting. Adams also said that it “is important for women to help each other,” citing producer Shonda Rhimes’ 2014 speech: “How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?”
The lecture was then opened up for the students to ask questions. The conversation turned naturally to controversial presidential candidate Donald Trump. Conversation also turned to the value of the youth vote.