Women Are Heard Less and Interrupted More in Meetings

Women-with-pen-between-men- I am fascinated by how gender impacts what gets said and who gets heard in the workplace. Re-reading one of my favourite books "Talking from 9-5" by Deborah Tannen, I was looking over some research she discussed that found in peer-directed mixed gender groups, "young women tended to acquiesce more, to be interrupted more, and to initiate less. Whereas the young men in these groups interrupted each other as well, they were more likely to persist in the face of those interruptions until they made their points, whereas the young women usually just backed off and gave up when their attempts to speak were met with interruptions." I know that sometimes when I am in mixed gender groups, I make my point, but often back off as I develop this unhelpful "I can't be bothered" attitude when I think that I would prefer not argue just for the sake of it. She points out that while peer-directed groups might appear to be the most egalitarian, that employers and managers keen to hear the opinions of their women might do better with asking everyone to speak in turn regarding their opinion rather than leaving it up to the "winner takes all" type of melee which can break out in most boardrooms.

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