The study in question has been published in the American Political Science Review and has revealed that women actually speak “substantially less” than men do in group situations when they are outnumbered.
The study observed 94 different groups made up of at least five people and found that the amount of time that women spoke for was considerably less than their proportional representation.
In addition, the researchers also found that women were less likely to voice their opinion when the matter was resolved using a majority vote.
“In school boards, governing boards of organisations and firms, and legislative committees, women are often a minority of members and the group uses majority rule to make its decisions. These settings will produce a dramatic inequality in women’s floor time and in many other ways. Women are less likely to be viewed and to view themselves as influential in the group and to feel that their ‘voice is heard’.” Said researcher Tali Mendelberg.
It is really quite remarkable to think of the number of women who don’t use their voice. According to research, around 80 per cent of females believe they are underpaid, yet two thirds wouldn’t even consider asking for more whilst the remaining percentage admitted it was one of the most nerve-wracking conversations they have ever had to instigate.
So what can women do to find their voice?
They key is to pipe up whenever there is an urge to pipe down and retreat for fear of coming across as ‘intimidating’ to men.
Often, women who voice their opinions are labelled as “outspoken”. Think about women like Janet Street Porter and Ruby Wax for instance, if they were born male they would probably be viewed as “confident” but as women they are “gobby”.
English author and playwright Fay Weldon CBE whose work is often associated with feminism now refuses to appear on television shows with lots of men. “They are so busy making their points that you are forced to butt in, and I don’t enjoy that any more. There is a degree of aggression to it that many women don’t have.” She said.
If you are a female who when outnumbered by men often sits more quietly than a porcelain doll, perhaps it is time that this changed.
Often, feeling that you don’t have a voice is a confidence issue that is entirely possible to overcome. Perhaps your fear of appearing outspoken is prohibiting you in the workplace or from making decisions at home? Visiting a life coach could be the answer to helping you to remove the gag and speak up with confidence. For further information please visit our page on Life Coaching Areas.
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