School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

Cum Laude Research Explores the Glass Ceiling Phenomenon in the Workplace

Mr Calvin Thomas
Photos: Supplied
Mr Calvin Thomas

Mr Calvin Thomas, Operations Manager for the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics recently graduated with his Honours in Ethics cum laude.

His research centred around an ethical assessment of the implications of the Glass Ceiling phenomenon on South African women at the workplace.

With a career rooted in Human Resources and Operations Management, Thomas noticed the slow progress of women reaching management and leadership positions. He wanted to find out why this is the case and what steps can be taken to further advance their career interests.

‘With increased access to education and training, women have taken up positions that were previously male-stereotyped and male-dominated. Although there is increased representation of women in lower and middle management positions, very few are appointed to senior management positions. This under-representation of women in this employment category has been attributed to what is termed the “glass ceiling”,’ explained Thomas.

His research revealed that the ‘Glass Ceiling phenomenon has a significant negative impact on female employees, especially concerning their career progression, which is counter-productive in terms of equity and advancing women’s social and economic interests in South Africa.’

Thomas is hopeful that managers will take note of his research findings and afford women equal opportunities within the workplace. ‘Through this journey of discovery, I have come to realise that I am an ardent feminist!’

Offering advice to other researchers, he said: ‘Education is something that cannot be taken away from you. By applying your mind, you are ultimately contributing to knowledge creation which future generations can use and build upon.’

Thomas also thanked his wife, Kalnisha, and children, Divya and Aryan, for their love and support. ‘Without their support (and sacrifices), I would not have been able to achieve what I have achieved. I also want to thank my supervisor, Dr Beatrice Okyere-Manu for her unwavering guidance and motivation. Taking my calls at odd hours and on weekends speaks to her dedication as a world class supervisor.’

His wife Kalnisha added: ‘I’ve always expected nothing but the best from Calvin. He always gives one hundred percent in everything that he sets out to do. Our family life did not suffer over the last year while he pursued his studies. He was able to continue to give us his attention. There were late nights. While we slept, he was working on his assignments. I am extremely proud of him and I look forward to supporting him through his future endeavours.’

Thomas is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Human Resources Management.