- an unseen (glass) barrier for women and people who belong to minority groups in climbing up the corporate, political, or social ladder of success, regardless of whether they are qualified for the job.
- the end to which women can climb up a figurative ladder
- The woman made every attempt but could not break the highest and toughest glass ceiling.
- I have reached the glass ceiling now, and breaking out is the only way for me to proceed.
It is a new world, a figurative phrase that came into existence when women liberated themselves enough to come up on the corporate ladders but then would get stuck at the middle management level. The earliest use of the phrase in its literary form can be found in an article written by Nora Frenkiel in 1984, and within the next decade it became quite popular. In 1994, the Daily Telegraph used the phrase to describe a financial instrument, but it is still mostly used to show support for women and people of minorities. Hillary Clinton used the phrase after she lost the 2016 US presidential election to then-candidate Donald Trump.