The glass ceiling: cracked but not dismantled  

Bharat Mehta

‘The glass ceiling for black achievement in the management of charities and trusts is finally beginning to crack open.’ That’s what Brenda Kirsch wrote in an article for the UK Association of Charitable Foundations’ (ACF) house magazine about my appointment in March 1998 as clerk to the trustees of City Parochial Foundation (CPF), now called Trust for London.

However, when I undertook a rough survey of the top ten members of ACF from their respective websites, I was not surprised to see that there were very few trustees and no chief executives from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds – it is what I see at gatherings of leaders of philanthropic organizations.

While we may have made some progress - though nowhere near enough - on some dimensions of diversity such as gender and possibly age, we have clearly not done so on race or class.

It would be wrong to surmise too much from my informal survey. Perhaps that’s the starting point in addressing the issue of why after 20 years, the ceiling remains stubbornly intact.

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Sachin Sachdeva