Women Confront a "Grass Ceiling"

24 Oct

According to Wikipedia the term “glass ceiling” refers to situations where the advancement of a qualified person within the hierarchy of an organization is stopped at a lower level because of some form of discrimination, most commonly sexism or racism, but since the term was coined, “glass ceiling” has also come to describe the limited advancement of the deaf, blind, disabled, aged and sexual minorities.

This situation is referred to as a “ceiling” as there is a limitation blocking upward advancement, and “glass” (transparent) because the limitation is not immediately apparent and is normally an unwritten and unofficial policy. The “glass ceiling” is distinguished from formal barriers to advancement, such as education or experience requirements.

Well, it seems that researchers at the University of New Mexico have identified a link between the placement of women’s tees on golf courses and their professional success that could be now termed the “grass ceiling”.

The farther apart men’s and women’s tees are in a region, they found, the fewer women there will be in sales management, general management, and marketing positions in the region and the less money those women will make.

Drawing on a sample of 455 golf courses in 50 US states, the study’s authors (golfers all) offer 2 hypotheses for the correlation:

  1. The more distant men’s and women’s tees are, the more likely it is that the sexes will segregate by cart, meaning that women miss out on the networking that goes on among the men (who are usually more powerful as a group than the women).
  2. Tee boxes placed far apart may signal — and reinforce — negative cultural beliefs in that region about women’s aptitudes.

In a related study the authors even find significant correlations between tee distances and local and regional politics. For example, in states that voted for Bush in 2004 starting tees are placed farther apart than they are in states that voted for Kerry, with the likelihood this difference is due to chance being less than one in a hundred.

SOURCE: “The Impact of Gender-Differentiated Golf Course Structures on Women’s Networking Abilities,” presented at the August 2008 meeting of the Academy of Management

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Posted by on October 24, 2008 in Sociology



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