BY NATHAN DUKE
The Queens Tribune and PRESS of Southeast Queens will honor eight women during an annual awards event in Douglaston on April 17.
The papers’ Glass Ceiling Awards pay tribute to extraordinary New York City women who have displayed power, vision and courage in their workplace or community. The awards ceremony’s theme is centered around enhancing women’s rights and promoting gender equality.
The expression “glass ceiling” represents a barrier that keeps women from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchical structure. The metaphor was first coined in the late 1970s during an era in which women fought for higher positions in the corporate workplace.
Marilyn Loden was the first person believed to have used the expression in a 1978 speech at a Conference for the Women’s Institute of Freedom of the Press. The speech was part of a discussion regarding promotion opportunities at Hewlett-Packard. The term was later used by Gay Bryant—the former editor of Working Woman magazine—in a 1984 article written by Nora Frenkiel in Adweek.
Bryant was quoted as saying, “Women have reached a certain point—I call it the glass ceiling. They’re in the top of middle management and they’re stopping and getting stuck. There isn’t enough room for all those women at the top.”
Statistics make the case that despite great advances by women in such fields as business or politics, a glass ceiling still exists. In its 242 years as a nation, the United States has only seen one woman presidential candidate—former Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.
In the 2017 Fortune 500 list, only 6.4 percent of the list’s CEOs were women. Only 19.4 percent of the members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are women, although the number has risen several percentage points during the past decade. And in New York City, only 13 women currently serve in the City Council, although there is an initiative—known as 21 in ’21—spearheaded by former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito that aims to elect at least 21 women to the legislative body by 2021.
According to a recent Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce wage-gap study, women with an associate’s degree earn an average salary of $43,000, while men who have only obtained a high school diploma make an average $47,000 per year. A woman with a master’s degree brings in an average of $83,000 per year, while men with a bachelor’s degree earn an average $87,000.
Additionally, the study found that while women have earned more college degrees at every level than men in recent years, nearly three-quarters of American workers who earn more than $100,000 per year are men.
In the field of environmental engineering, for example, women earn an annual salary of $62,000, while men in that same field take home $93,000. A total of 58 percent of accounting majors are women, but they earn 38 percent less than their male counterparts, the study found.
In 2017, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report found that a number of nations had made big strides towards parity.
Iceland ranked as the world’s most gender-equal country. But the United States slipped four spots to 49 in the Global Gender Gap Index.
“Nationally, women earn just 80 cents for every dollar a man does, and it’s even less for African American and Hispanic women,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) on April 10, which is nationally designated as Equal Pay Day. “The pay gap costs women hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their lifetimes—an injustice that hurts them, their families and the economy.”
Over the years, Queens has been the home of a number of trailblazing women, including Geraldine Ferraro, who became the first woman to be the vice presidential candidate on a major political party’s ticket; Helen Marshall, who was the first African American borough president of Queens; actresses Lucy Liu, Idina Menzel and the legendary Mae West; musicians Cyndi Lauper and Nicki Minaj; novelist Laura Z. Hobson; and former first lady Nancy Reagan.
During its Glass Ceiling Awards, the Queens Tribune and PRESS of Southeast Queens will honor eight women, including New York Lieutenant Gov. Kathleen Hochul, who is also the event’s keynote speaker; Tonya Boyd, the deputy chief of the city’s Fire Department; Susan Browning, the executive director or Long Island Jewish Forest Hills; Lidija Nikolic, CTP, the senior vice president of global commercial banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Merle Hoffman, the president and CEO of Choices Medical Center for Women; Rhonda Nelson, the recorder for UFCW Local 1500; Lori Vavrinec, the director of marketing for Fidelis Care New York; and Vandana Sharma, the regional manager for Americas, Air India.
The event will be held at Douglaston Manor, located at 6320 Commonwealth Blvd. in Douglaston. A reception and networking will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The dinner and awards program will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For further information on the event, call (718) 357-7400, ext. 133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brianna Knibbs contributed to this article.
Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 122.