Feminist economists and sociologists have developed powerful metaphors to explain the employment situation of women.
The expression ‘glass ceiling’ describes the difficulty encountered by many women to access the highest professional levels, the very low presence of women in positions of power and the lack of recognition of the work of many professional women.
The term ‘sticky floor’, on the other hand, refers to the large number of women condemned to occupy the lowest ranks of the occupational pyramid: temporary, part-time, low-wage jobs, considered “unskilled”, etc., a floor from which they cannot escape during their working lives and which is usually passed on from mothers to daughters.
Another phenomenon observed especially in the private sphere, is what is known as the ‘glass cliff’: when a company is going through a period of crisis, women are appointed to leadership positions, when the risk of failure is highest. The case of Iceland, where both the posts of Head of State and the CEOs of the two big insolvent banks were successfully taken on by women after the financial crisis, is paradigmatic.