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The Difference Between Men and Women in Meetings (and other places)

This goes into my “must be read” list.  The article discusses the difference between men and women when it comes to “voice”.  So how the two different sexes approach air time in meetings, how their sentences are structured and even how many words per minute.  The original article "How to explain Mansplaining", published in the New York Times and written by Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) here are a  few interesting quotes from the article – to get you excited to read the whole thing – include: -

The prevalence of the manologue is deeply rooted in the fact that men take, and are allocated, more time to talk in almost every professional setting. Women self-censor, edit, apologize for speaking. Men expound.

Men also talk more directly; women hedge. They use more phrases like “kind of,” “probably” or “maybe,” as well as more fillers like “um,” “ah” and “I mean.” They also turn sentences into questions, seeking affirmation: “Isn’t it?” Women are interrupted more, by both men and women.

The problem is global and endemic across all media. Female characters speak less in Disney films today than they used to — even princesses get a minority of the speaking lines in films in which they’re the principal: In the 2013 animated movie “Frozen,” for example, male characters get 59 percent of the lines. 

And my favourite – “having a seat at the table is very different than having a voice”.

Comments by Mary Sue Rogers

Pictures from NY Times Article

Posted On : 16-05-16

Commented by:  msrogers

Mary - thank you very much for such a thoughtful comment. And your comments reflect my own experience.

Posted On : 04-06-16

Commented by:  Mary Tod

These comments recall a time for me when as a partner with Deloitte Canada I became part of an initiative on men and women working together. The firm called the program ART - something like attracting and retaining talent. Notions of how women participate in meetings, the ways women get things done (more work accomplished in the same amount of time, less heroic overtime stints and so on), encouraging men and women to respect and value one another's differences were part of the initiative. Some progress was made, however, I now watch my daughter who has a senior role in a CPG organization try to cope with the same issues I experienced as a working woman with young children. The men just don't get it - or refuse to get it. There, got that off my chest! A very good article - if only more than a token number of men and organizations would take an interest.

Posted On : 04-06-16

Commented by:  msrogers

Kathy - thanks so much for the comments and the article really rang true for me also - my mission is now to help others find their voice.

Posted On : 31-05-16

Commented by:  Kathleen

I read this article and it resonated with me. Even though I had a successful career, I always felt I struggled in meetings with men. I couldn't 'find" my voice. Some times I would suggest something but it wouldn't be rallied around until the same idea came out of a man's mouth! I felt like I represented myself better by "showing" what I could do rather than "telling". I was always told I was to "soft" in my speaking. I now work with women to help them gain confidence and it is amazing how many women you think are confident on the outside say they have little confidence on the inside. Especially in meetings!

Posted On : 31-05-16

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