Earlier this month, Ellen Pao announced that she was dropping the appeal of her legal case for gender discrimination and retaliation against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.
Observers have noted that Pao’s story brings to life some of the obstacles women can face in the workplace, especially when in leadership roles. For example, many have characterized Pao’s resignation from Reddit as an instance of the “glass cliff.”
The glass cliff is a phenomenon in which women are more likely to be put into leadership roles under risky and precarious circumstances.
Discovered by psychology professors Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam, the glass cliff is a phenomenon in which women are more likely to be put into leadership roles under risky and precarious circumstances. By taking the helm during difficult times, their odds of failure are often higher.
Over the last 10 years, research in a variety of contexts has repeatedly documented the glass cliff.