From Wikipedia:

The United States Federal Glass Ceiling Commission defines the glass ceiling as "the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements".

From Investopedia:

  • The term “glass ceiling” was popularized in a 1986 Wall Street Journal article about the corporate hierarchy.
  • The glass ceiling is a metaphor for an artificial barrier preventing women from being promoted to top jobs in management.
  • In recent years the term has been broadened to include discrimination against minorites as well.