Why Women Need To Speak Up More | Reflections
Have you ever sat silently in a meeting or on WhatsApp when you wanted to make a suggestion? Yeah, same. Enough is enough.
Women are two times less likely to speak up than a man in public, according to new statistics. But why?
The stereotype is that women are chatterboxes who never shut up, but when it comes to making decisions or correcting people we remain silent.
Are we super polite? To the point of damaging our own lives or careers?
According to the same study, women are less likely to answer a question than ask one. So you might ask where the toilet is but you won’t tell someone when they ask. Okay, if we’re super polite we probably would tell them. But if an instructor asked us a question regarding our career specialism we’re less likely to answer than a man, but if we’re asked to contribute a question to improve ourselves then we will ask.
I went to a talk about Virago, the leading UK feminist publishing company, in 2018 and Dame Carmen Callil responded to a colleague’s comment ‘Correct me if I’m wrong‘ immediately with ‘I will’.
Where the hell are the other women answering like that?
Why don’t women speak up more to answer questions, or to make corrections?
If we’re confident in our careers, ourselves, and our interests then there should be nothing stopping us from pointing out that maybe we don’t want to go out for tapas with the girls. Or that World War Two started on the 1st September 1939, not the day Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated.
How can women start businesses or take on leadership roles if they’re not speaking up on the smaller things as well?
I’m not saying that we all need to go out and start shouting our opinions or correcting everything. That’s just uppity and rude to the extreme. But if correcting someone benefits you, or someone else even, then do it!
Channel your inner Dame Carmen Callil. Know that to be perceived as an intelligent and strong woman you need to speak up every now and again. Don’t fade into the background for the sake of seeming polite. What you’re actually being perceived as is invisible, and voiceless.