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Ever wonder where the term “glass ceiling” came from?

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Glass Ceiling

With the death of Helen Brown last week, there has been a lot of reflection on how far women have come in the past decades. As we celebrate what pioneers like Brown have meant to their specific fields, the term glass ceiling has come to mind more than once.

Recently reading the New York Times Magazine “innovation issue,” I found the history of the term “glass ceiling.” It’s always enlightening to find out the story behind commonly used phrases, but what struck me about this story is where the “glass” part of “glass ceiling” comes from. It was used because of how women viewed themselves – or more accurately what they failed to view in themselves.

I find the explanation refreshing because I like how it shows that with self-determination, we can change our careers. It’s not about what others have done to us – or not done for us – it’s telling us that we are the ones who fail to push ourselves and that ultimately we have all of the power to attain our goals.

That’s what women like Brown did, they saw past their reflection in the mirror and looked toward how they wanted to appear, forever changing the way women after them would view their own opportunities.

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