SHATTERING the "glass ceiling" in corporate America should be even more of a national priority now that an authoritative Bush administration study has shown that women and minorities face barriers in their careers at a far earlier stage than previously believed.
The Department of Labor study disclosed that women and minorities are blocked by subtle corporate practices at much lower management levels than heretofore thought. And the careers of minorities were found to plateau much earlier than those of white women, according to Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin.
The yearlong pilot study of nine Fortune 500 corporations was the government's first effort to analyze corporate prejudices that exclude women and minorities from jobs traditionally known to be paths to managerial and executive positions. The study found that women and minorities were most frequently excluded from informal career-enhancement activities such as networking, mentoring and participation in policy-making committees. They also were more likely to be dealt jobs in public relations than, say, in production -- traditionally a fast track to promotion.