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Break The Glass Ceiling Day – May 15, 2024

It’s time to Break the Glass Ceiling. The often-invisible systemic barriers that exist to keep women and underrepresented communities from professional advancement. 

World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report estimates that it will take an average of 135.6 years for women and men to reach parity on a range of factors worldwide. That’s why Break the Glass Ceiling Day is on ​ May 15, the 135th day of the year. And that’s why we need to do more than just break through. 

We are dismantling outdated definitions of success. For all people who identify as women, for all historically marginalized communities. We are championing living by your own values and achieving them by your own standards. Because there’s more than one way to break the glass ceiling. 

Today is about encouraging action. Our mission is not only uplifting women in the workplace but all underrepresented communities, including multicultural, transgender, and queer communities.

As we continue on this journey, we must ask three crucial questions: 

  • How do we see women as equals and role models for ALL — not just other women. 
  • How do we make space for diverse, even conflicting, definitions of success?
  • How do we use this day to inspire continued action across every single day of the year?

Let’s celebrate the first-ever #BTGCD and redefine success on our own terms.

History of Break The Glass Ceiling Day

If we continue down the current path, it will take over 135 years to achieve gender pay parity. That’s why we celebrate Break the Glass Ceiling Day on May 15, the 135th day of the year.

Despite being a long-awaited national holiday, the idea of ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ has been around since the ‘70s. But recently, the conversation has been declining. Let’s reignite the conversation and change.

Break The Glass Ceiling Day timeline

October 10, 1903
We Are the Suffragettes

During the 20th century, the Suffrage movement fights for Votes for Women through peaceful protests, hunger strikes, and civil disobedience.

1913
Taking a Stand

Ida B. Wells-Barnett and 60 other black women attend the first Women’s Suffrage Movement parade. Refusing to go to the back, she returns to the march with her own delegation.

1910-1920
Diversifying the Workplace

African Americans fill labor shortages caused by the First World War.

1914-1918
Recruiting Women

The First World War sees women employed in what were viewed as male professions, increasing the employment rates of women in work from roughly 24% to 38-47%.

1960s
Voting Rights

African Americans in most of the U.S. are prevented from voting or given access to voting rights until mid- to -late 60s when Civil Rights era voting laws are signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1984
The Working Woman Report

Gay Bryant is the first person to use the term "glass ceiling" in print with the publication of The Working Woman Report. The term is used to refer to biases keeping women and other underrepresented people from advancing in the workplace.

2017
Ethnic Diversity

According to a McGregor-Smith review, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women face a rate of 15% unemployment, compared to those of white women (roughly 5%). This review also highlights how women of color are forced to take jobs at a lower level than their qualifications. Similarly, in a survey of 7,500 professionals conducted by Robert Walters, 63% of Black professional women did not see a pay increase after negotiations for a pay increase or promotion.

2024
Sign the Pledge!

Break the Glass Ceiling Day is sponsored on National Today to highlight and encourage action to remove obstacles faced by workers or people who identify as women.

Break The Glass Ceiling Day FAQs

How do we make a splash not just amongst professional women but society at large?

To achieve this means going beyond providing professional resources. We must generate awareness and attention outside of women in the workplace.

Do women perform better as CEOs?

According to statistics taken in 2023, the 32 companies with female CEOs significantly outperform those with male CEOs. Spanning the last decade, differences in company returns resulted in 384% from female-led companies, compared to 261% from male-led companies.

What is Breaking the Glass Ceiling?

Gay Bryant was the first person to use the term glass ceiling in print with the publication of The Working Woman Report in 1984 to refer to biases keeping women and other minorities from advancing in the workplace.

How to Observe Break The Glass Ceiling Day

  1. Panel discussion

    A panel discussion in partnership with Luminary and other partners will occur, aiding people worldwide to join this virtual approach. To sign up, visit www.breaktheglassceilingday.com!

  2. Campaign pledge

    Sign the pledge to champion equity for yourself and your community and use #BTGCD.

  3. Social media

    Help shine a spotlight on the people in your life doing the work break the glass ceiling with the hashtag # BTGCD.

Breaking The Glass Ceiling Doesn’t Just Move Us Forward. It Makes Us More Whole.

  1. Stress kills

    Around seven in 10 adults (72%) have experienced health impacts due to stress in 2022. (American Psychological Association)

  2. Worldwide trauma

    America is “a nation recovering from collective trauma” — the COVID-19 pandemic, global conflicts, racism and racial injustice, inflation, and climate-related disasters are all weighing on the collective consciousness of Americans. (APA)

  3. Happiness beats all

    However, 71% of Americans are optimistic about the upcoming year, compared to 64% in 2023. (Retail Brew)

  4. Men AND women, not men vs women

    Since 2022, just under 68% of men older than 25 were employed, compared to 55.4% of women. Despite this higher employment ratio, the gap grows smaller while educational attainment increases. (U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics)

  5. Post-pandemic recovery

    Female employment has seen broad improvement thanks to a post-pandemic recovery. The U.S. economy recovered in record time from the COVID-19 recession, with overall employment fully recovering to pre-pandemic levels by August 2022. As of January 2023, the women's labor participation rate hit 77.0 percent, exceeding 76% in 2019. (U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics)

Why It’s Important

  1. Empower

    Role models are vital within all aspects of life, in and out of the workplace. 76% of women say they want relatable role models to be more visible. (Source: LinkedIn) And according to statistics taken in 2023, the 32 companies with female CEOs significantly outperformed those with male CEOs. Spanning the last decade, differences in company returns resulted in 384% increase from female-led companies, compared to 261% increase from male-led companies.

  2. Modernize

    While Break the Glass Ceiling Day is making its long-awaited national holiday debut, it is a term that has been around since the 1970s. But as socio-political messaging becomes more common, consumers are becoming increasingly desensitized to messaging. (Source: BBC) How do we make our message feel relevant and urgent?

  3. Unite

    Break the Glass Ceiling Day is not just about uplifting women in the workplace, but all underrepresented communities, including multicultural, transgender, and queer communities.

Break The Glass Ceiling Day dates

YearDateDay
2024May 15Wednesday
2025May 15Thursday
2026May 15Friday
2027May 15Saturday
2028May 15Monday

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