Glass ceilings, glass houses, or glass parasols? confronting issues of gender in the archaeological profession

Tweets pertaining to the 'Glass Ceiling' session held at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) in Cardiff, April 2015.


  1. Session abstract
  2. Women have always played a prominent role in archaeology (, and recent research shows that numbers of women in archaeology are increasing – some 46% in 2012‐13 compared to 35% in 1998‐99 (Aitchison and Rocks‐Macqueen 2013, 93‐94). However, these figures mask an imbalance across the profession as a whole. For example more than 70% of archaeologists working for private‐sector organisations are men; on the other hand 67% of those employed in museum and user/visitor services are women. Recent research has identified barriers to women in academic archaeology, which are part of wider issues around gender equality in academia. Some indicators suggest that the problem is a persistent one (Maliniak et al. 2013); Croucher and Cobb (2014) have argued that the notion of the ‘glass ceiling’ is alive and well in British academic archaeology. Looking at the situation in Australia, Smith and Burke (2006) developed a nuanced argument around ‘glass parasols’ – in effect portable glass ceilings carried around by individuals. Others would suggest that there are no such things and the solution is for men and women to get on with it.This session seeks to explore these issues in relation to the professional practice in the UK.
  3. Organisers: Paul Belford, Clwyd‐Powys Archaeological Trust ( and Hilary Orange, UCL(
  4. "Spent the evening walking on a glass ceiling, the extent of which I had never fully realised until now. Very disappointed by my profession. This is the annual meeting of the 'Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers'... all the Directors and CEOs of archaeological organisations in the UK. 70 delegates, of whom 4 are women and 6 are under 45." Paul Belford, June 2014