Glass Ceiling

To mark the International Women’s Day on March 8th, a glass ceiling index has been created to show where women have the best chances of equal treatment at work. It combines data on higher education, labour-force participation, pay, childcare costs, maternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs. Each country’s score is a weighted average of its performance on nine indicators.

To no one’s surprise, Nordic countries come out well on educational attainment and labour-force participation. Women in those countries are also relatively well represented in their respective parliaments. Finland and Sweden were among the first countries to allow women to vote and stand for election. Yet even there women are paid less than men for similar work, in other words the salary gap between the sexes is still quite difficult to bridge. In Finland and Sweden the gap is close to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 15%, though in Norway it has fallen to 8%.

In Finland women accounted for almost half of those who took the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), an entrance exam for business schools, in 2012-13. Worldwide, the share was 43%, an increase of five points in the course of a decade. In Norway nearly two-fifths of board members for the largest listed companies are women, owing largely to the introduction of mandatory quotas in 2008. That is twice the share in the European Union, which is considering bringing in quotas if the current voluntary approach proves unsuccessful.

At the bottom of our index are Japan and South Korea. Too few women there have jobs, few senior managers or board members are women and pay gaps are large— in South Korea, at 37%, the largest in the OECD. If, in the UN’s words, “equality for women is progress for all”, both countries have a long way to go.



Exercise 1

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) to join two or more elements together: __________
2) how well somebody or something does: __________
3) a measurement that points to something: __________
4) an achievement: __________
5) in relation to: __________
6) referring to each of two or more things: __________
7) to make a difference disappear: __________
8) OECD: __________
9) 10 years: ___________
10)thanks to: __________
11)GMAT: __________
12)a preset amount of something : __________



Exercise 2

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1) a glass ceiling             participation
2) equal                            average
3) labour-force               gap
4) maternity                    treatment
5) a business-school      rights
6) senior                          members
7) a weighted                  index
8) to stand for                jobs
9) a salary                       elections
10)board                         application



Exercise 3

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) członek zarządu
2) wskaźnik (np. wrostu gospodarki)
3) prawa macierzyńskie
4) szklany sufit
5) osiągnięcie
6) podejście
7) obowiązkowy
8) bieżący (np. aktywa)
9) stanowiska wyższego szczebla
10)równe traktowanie
11)siła robocza


Grammar corner…

Too few women have jobs in South Korea. Too little is spent on education. In both cases, we talk about there not being enough of somebody or something. Why, then, did we use FEW in the first example and LITTLE in the other? Both mean NOT ENOUGH, but the former is used with nouns that can quite easily be counted (e.g. women – it’s relatively easy to count how many of them there are), while the latter goes with nouns that are uncountable, in other words quite difficult to count. You can’t count all the beer in the world (as a mass, hence uncountable nouns are often called MASS nouns), but beer bottles are much more COUNTABLE. Other words that often go with countable or uncountable nouns include: SOME, ANY, NO, MUCH, MANY, FEW, A FEW, LITTLE, A LITTLE, NONE.


Exercise 4

Fill in the sentences with the appropriate modifier from above:

1) There is ____________________ money left in the bank account. We’re broke!
2) Do you have ____________________ idea what to invest in to prevent your savings from inflation?
3) I have ____________________ money saved up for a rainy day, so I’ll manage somehow.
4) There are ____________________ financial instruments that offer low risk, but every business or investment activity is risky.
5) How much I earn is ____________________ of your business! I’d rather not discuss that.
6) How ____________________ times have you gone out of business before you succeeded?
7) Very ____________________ has been done so far to tackle the ebola issue.
8) There are ____________________ things I’d like to discuss with you during this meeting.
9) There is ____________________ change whatsoever of you landing this job.
10)How ____________________ per share is this company trading right now?




the former – ten pierwszy
the latter – ten ostatni
to be broke – być spłukanym
to prevent something from happening – zapobiec czemuś
to save up for a rainy day – odkładać na czarną godzinę
to manage – poradzić sobie
financial instruments – instrumenty finansowe
to tackle an issue – poradzić sobie z problemem
whatsoever – absolutnie, wcale, w ogóle
to land a job – dostać pracę
a weighted average – średnia ważona
board members – członkowie zarządu
a salary gap – różnica w poziomie wynagrodzeń
to stand up for election – ubiegać się o stanowisko polityczne
maternity rights – prawa macierzyńskie
a glass ceiling – szklany sufit
equal treatment – równe traktowanie
a quota – parytet
relatively – względnie
an attainment – osiągnięcie
senior jobs – stanowiska wyższego szczebla
labour force – siła robocza
to bridge the gap – zniwelować różnicę
owing to – dzięki
respectively – odpowiednio


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Ex. 1
1) to combine
2) performance
3) an indicator
4) an attainment
5) relatively
6) respective
7) to bridge the gap
8) Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development
9) a decade
10)owing to
11)Graduate Management Admission Test
12)a quota

Ex. 2
1) a glass ceiling index
2) equal treatment
3) labour-force participation
4) maternity rights
5) a business-school application
6) senior jobs
7) a weighted average
8) to stand for elections
9) a salary gap

10)board members

Ex. 3
1) a board member
2) an indicator / an index
3) maternity rights
4) glass ceiling
5) an attainment
6) an approach
7) mandatory
8) current
9) senior jobs
10)equal treatment
11)labour force
12)a quota

Ex. 4
1) no
2) any
3) a little / some
4) some
5) none
6) many
7) little
8) a few
9) no