The term “glass ceiling” refers to the income gap between men and women, touted by white feminists with the following statistic: women make 77¢ for every $1 a man makes. However, it is not that simple. The disparity becomes starker when one considers race and ethnicity. According to a study published in July 2016 by the Pew Research Center, for every dollar a white male worker makes, black women make 65¢, Hispanic and Latina women make 58¢, white women make 82¢, and Asian women make 87¢. These statistics show that the problem has to do with more than just gender.
Glass ceilings exist outside these pay gaps, at many crossroads, in many situations, in many structures of society. Glass ceilings can be based on many variables: race, religion, sexual orientation, identification, immigration status, ethnicity, ability, gender—the list goes on. Some forms of subjugation are overt; others are built into the systems and laws that define our society, constituting and fortifying each other. Many times, these glass ceilings are ignored. Some people deny the existence of these systemic barriers outright. When asked by a female audience member at the Problem Solver Convention in October 2015, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump simply responded, “You’re going to make the same if you do as good a job.” For our fall 2016 issue, Anamesa sought to put a spotlight on varied experiences of subjugation in our society through nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and art.
When the editorial staff began collecting material for the “Glass Ceilings” issue, the Democratic Party had adopted its most progressive platform in history, largely prompted by Bernie Sanders and his following. Hillary Clinton was positioned to become the first female president of the United States, according to polling and common sense. Considering the results of the popular vote, the notion was not unfounded. Since the election and inauguration of Donald Trump, glass ceilings have been both cracked in some places and reinforced in countless others. It is imperative that we continue the conversation about glass ceilings—all types of discrimination and oppression—through our strongest forms of expression and even through our weakest ones, whether that be writing, discussing, calling, meeting, donating, signing, organizing, or marching.