Education Publications

Family Binds and Glass Ceilings: Women Managers’ Promotion Limits in a ‘Knowledge Economy’

Document Type


Publication Date



Critical Sociology

URL with Digital Object Identifier


This article documents macro-level trends regarding gender equity for women managers in paid workplaces and examines the importance of factors related to equitable promotion. Primary evidence is drawn from 1982, 2004 and 2010 surveys of work and learning activities of the employed Canadian labor force. These surveys provide unique national-level data on the managerial levels, qualifications, sex of supervisor and divisions of paid and unpaid labor among male and female managers which could provide benchmarks for further international surveys. Women’s representation in top-level jobs remains very restricted, and most women still manage only women. Greater employment experience and higher educational qualifications are now generally significant factors for promotion of women as well as men. But glass ceilings maintained by men and women’s own primary responsibility for household work remain the major obstacles to equitable promotion. Women managers’ increasing economic power remains contingent on facing up to these interrelated barriers.

Citation of this paper:

Livingstone, D., Pollock, K., & Raykov, M. (2014). Family binds and glass ceilings and time binds: Women managers’ mobility limits in a ‘knowledge economy’. Critical Sociology, 42(1), 145–166. doi:10.1177/0896920514532663.

Find in your library