“Who run the world? Girls!” Beyonce sings. But is this truly the situation on ground? Over the years, women have clawed their way through the large mountain of inequality and gender prejudices. Not only do they now occupy juicy positions in the office world. They’re also gunning for the country’s top jobs. But regardless, they still do not quite rule the world. Women get interrupted when contributing to formal discussions.
There is still that stereotype of the inadequacy of women in formal positions. And it is even more apparent in professional meetings. Numerous researches have shown that women are more likely (than men) to be interrupted. This interruption comes from both men and women when they make contributions to the discussions.
“Women are to be seen, not heard”. Sounds familiar? Of course, very few people still say this out loud, but that is a silent belief held by a good chunk of the world’s population.
In a casual study, Kieran Snyder who is the CEO of a tech startup confirmed that men were three times as likely to interrupt women as they were to interrupt other men.
Why women are interrupted during formal discussions?
This “woman, interrupted” phenomenon has been described by many as not just rude and unethical. It is also a subtle assertion that the interrupted person is of a lower status.
As Adrienne Hancock, a George Washington University linguist who studied the phenomenon, aptly puts: “Interruptions can be used to display or gain dominance,”
There is, however, something very interesting from these studies. When people say dominance especially in the context of gender roles and stereotypes, one would be quick to think the dominant person is always a male figure.
But the studies have also shown that women were also largely interrupted by their fellow women. According to the CEO Snyder, an overwhelming 89% of the times women ever interrupted any discussion at all, they were interrupting another woman.
A lot of women fiercely fight to make their views known though, but that’s usually like out-shouting a market. One of the easiest ways to talk above others, however, is to be top of the team, to be CEO or Director. But even that is hard to come by.
Women get interrupted when contributing to formal discussions. So, “Who run the world?” Maybe not girls!