Glass ceilings and Tokyo’s new woman governor

Chris Game

Give an academic a metaphor and they’re – start as you mean to go on – like a pig in clover. They’ll squeeze it till its pips squeak. Take the glass ceiling – which, certainly when first launched, seemed an OK metaphor for the unacknowledged barrier(s) to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities.

But then we had glass cliffs and glass escalators, and not even glass, but solid, ledges – and I rather lost interest. So I’m back to glass ceilings, the big difficulty with which, it always seemed to me, comes when you start celebrating their shattering. Because – as any schoolboy cricket enthusiast learns early, if expensively – cracked or even smithereened glass is very easily replaceable, possibly even by something more resilient.

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