The concept of the glass ceiling was originally introduced outside of print media at the National Press Club in July 1979 This was at a Conference of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press led by Katherine Lawrence of Hewlett-Packard. This was part of an ongoing discussion of a clash between written policy of promotion versus action opportunities for women at HP. The term was coined by Lawrence and HP manager Maryanne Schreiber.
The term was later used in March 1984 by Gay Bryant. She was the former editor of Working Woman magazine and was changing jobs to be the editor of Family Circle. In an Adweek article written by Nora Frenkel, Bryant was reported as saying, "Women have reached a certain point--I call it the glass ceiling. They're in the top of middle management and they're stopping and getting stuck. There isn't enough room for all those women at the top. Some are going into business for themselves. Others are going out and raising families."] Also in 1984, Bryant used the term in a chapter of the book The Working Woman Report: Succeeding in Business in the 1980s. In the same book, Basia Hellwig used the term in another chapter.
In a widely cited article in the Wall Street Journal in March 1986 the term was used in the article's title: "The Glass Ceiling: Why Women Can't Seem to Break The Invisible Barrier That Blocks Them From the Top Jobs." The article was written by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy D. Schellhardt. Hymowitz and Schellhardt introduced glass ceiling was "not something that could be found in any corporate manual or even discussed at a business meeting; it was originally introduced as an invisible, covert, and unspoken phenomenon that existed to keep executive level leadership positions in the hands of Caucasian males."[
As the term "Glass Ceiling" got more issued within society, public responded with differing ideas and opinions. Some argued that glass ceiling is a myth rather than a reality because women chose to stay home and showed less dedication to advance into executive suite As a result of continuing public debate, the US Labor Department's chief, Lynn Morley Martin, reported the results of a research project called "The Glass Ceiling Initiative" formed to investigate the low numbers of women and minorities in executive positions. This report defined the new term as "those artificial barriers based on attitudinal or organizational bias that prevent qualified individuals from advancing upward in their organization into management-level positions.
In 1991, as a part of Title II of the Civil Right Act of 1991 Congress created the Glass Ceiling Commission. This 21 member Presidential Commission was chaired by Secretary of Labor Robert Reich] and was created to study the "barriers to the advancement of minorities and women within corporate hierarchies (the problem known as the glass ceiling), to issue a report on its findings and conclusions, and to make recommendations on ways to dis- mantle the glass ceiling." The commission conducted extensive research including, surveys, public hearings and interviews, and released their findings in a report in 1995. The report, “Good for Business”, offered "tangible guidelines and solutions on how these barriers can be overcome and eliminated” The goal of the commission was to provide recommendations on how to shatter the glass ceiling, specifically in the world of business. The report issued 12 recommendations on how to improve the workplace by increasing diversity in the organization and reducing discrimination through policy[
Number of women CEOs from the Fortune Lists has been increasing from 2012–2014] but ironically women's labor force participation rate decreased from 52.4% to 49.6% between 1995 and 2015 globally. However, it is evident that some countries like Australia has increased the labor force participation of women over 27% since 1978. Furthermore, only 19.2% of women held 2014 S&P 500 Board Seats, and 80.2% women were considered white.