The glass ceiling is an invisible barrier women know all too well. As ambitious women, we set our goals high. We put in the work and are thriving in the workplace more than ever — yet there’s still a lack of visibility for women and minorities at the top. Just like the glass ceiling, there’s a similar roadblock built on bias and misconceptions that’s holding minorities and particularly, Asian professionals from reaching their professional potential. Today, we’re talking about the bamboo ceiling.
Stereotyped as “hardworking” and “educated”, Asian individuals face very specific barriers, unique to them. The term “bamboo ceiling” is a sad spinoff of the “glass ceiling” and is used to speak to the fact that Asians are underrepresented in leadership roles. The reality is that Asian professionals are missing from corporate boards and in management, even in fields where they make up a significant portion of the workforce.
The income divide in 2019 is real and racialized (read: non-white) people are feeling it. According to new research by United Way Greater Toronto, income inequality continues to grow. “The earnings gap was barely noticeable in 1980,” reports the Toronto Star, “But by 2015, for every dollar earned by non-racialized Torontonians, racialized residents made an average of just 52.1 cents.”
Let’s explore what this barrier is and why it is something we can’t ignore in the today’s modern workplaces.
Stereotypes are never a good thing
Ultimately, stereotypes do nothing but contribute to a dysfunctional class system and harm the individuals within it. Aside from being untrue (no group of anyone is always anything), stereotypes create social barriers for various groups of people. It’s never right.
Look down: the “sticky floor” is also too real
This disappointing process is visible across various fields.
Of course, there are jobs in Canada where women are dominating and you should know about them.
Terms like “model minority” are terrible and hurt all POC
By suggesting certain groups are a “model minority” — it inadvertently suggests other minorities don’t uphold the same measures of success. It’s ultimately unfair to make such statements and not actually true.
Before the workforce: schools limit enrollment
Attempts at breaking the “bamboo ceiling” are sad
Representation in the media doesn’t help
Asian Canadian women face specific challenges
How to take action towards a more inclusive society
RELATED: tips for introverts to help them thrive in the workplace.