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Gender gap in public speaking

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Historically, women have been silenced. No wonder now it is harder to see gender balanced conferences or panels.
Here are a few resources to help you as a speaker or as a conference organizer to shift the speaker gender gap!

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Gender gap in public speaking

  1. 1. Gender gap in public speaking @asalvaire
  2. 2. Historically, women have been silenced
  3. 3. Even if we are socialized to think women talk more
  4. 4. Good girls are taught to be quiet and well behaved
  5. 5. The silent sex: a 4,000-year campaign • Homer labeled speech as “the business of men” and Sophocles wrote that “silence is a woman’s garment” • The first laws to have come down to us included a speech code for women. The people responsible for these laws were the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, in now modern Iraq. • It says that a woman who speaks out of turn to a man will have her teeth smashed by a burnt brick.
  6. 6. Suppressing of women’s voices is still part of everyday life • Male doctors invariably interrupt patients when they speak, especially female patients, but patients rarely interrupt doctors in return. Unless the doctor is a woman. • Parents interrupt girls twice as often and hold them to stricter politeness norms. • Teachers engage boys, who correctly see disruptive speech as a marker of dominant masculinity, more often and more dynamically than girls.
  7. 7. On Twitter, people retweet men two times as often as women. • Social media is dominated by women, and Twitter is no exception, but it appears that when it comes to sharing information on our favourite micro-blogging network, men are far more likely to be retweeted than women.
  8. 8. A new tool called Twee-Q (“Twitter Equality Quotient”) lets you scan the Twitter profile of any user to determine the frequency that they retweet men and women on the network. • Throughout Twitter, the results are both conclusive and pretty shocking – over more than 11,000 tests, and almost half a million retweets, men have been retweeted almost twice as often as women, with close to 63 percent of all retweets those of male users.
  9. 9. The larger the group, the more likely men are to speak • Scholars at Brigham Young University and Princeton examined whether women speak less than men when a group collaborates to solve a problem. • In most groups that they studied, the time that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation – amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke.
  10. 10. Having a seat at the table is not the same as having a voice http://arementalkingtoomuch.com/
  11. 11. Authority and power are linked to male voices • A study by a Yale psychologist, Victoria L. Brescoll, found that male senators with more power (as measured by tenure, leadership positions and track record of legislation passed) spoke more on the Senate floor than their junior colleagues. • It is also clear that the more powerful men become, the more they speak. This would seem a natural correlation, but the same is not true for women. • But for female senators, power was not linked to significantly more speaking time.
  12. 12. Male students tend towards greater talkativeness than female students • The male tendency to dominate in some classes did not surprise us, since talkativeness studies in general have concluded that men dominate mixed discussion groups everywhere -- both within the classroom and beyond. • What did surprise us was the degree to which male domination appeared to depend on gender demographics: when the teacher was male and the students in a particular class were predominantly male, then male students dominated the discussions. • In none of the demographic circumstances studied did women students talk as much as men.
  13. 13. Women don’t dare to speak
  14. 14. Why don't women talk as much as men? • Women's lower self-esteem translates in language patterns. • Women are verbally less assertive than men, in the sense that they are more likely to use hedges, qualifiers and questioning intonations. • Women 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?”
  15. 15. Women worry about “negative consequences” and backlash if they are more voluble • Powerful women are in fact correct in assuming that they will incur backlash as a result of talking more than others • Troublingly, the study found that their fears were well founded, as both male and female listeners were quick to think these women were talking too much, too aggressively. • In other words, men are rewarded for speaking, while women are punished.
  16. 16. Another explanation is that women prove to be extremely vulnerable to interruption. • Numerous studies have demonstrated that in mixed-sex conversations, women are interrupted far more frequently than men are. By men AND by women. • Women’s "bursts" last only a few seconds, while male students typically kept on talking until they had finished. • Moreover, once interrupted, women sometimes stayed out of the discussion for the remainder of the conversation.
  17. 17. “Interruptions can be used to display or gain dominance” • A man may be more likely to see conversation as “a competitive game while “the woman see discussions as being collaborative, hence expects and gives space for interruption.” • “Men are used to talking more in other contexts and women being in lower status positions and this bleeds into the meeting context.”
  18. 18. And it even has a name…
  19. 19. https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/1051065834928875/
  20. 20. How To Mansplain In 6 Easy Steps – Kristy Sammis • First: Call her by her first name. • Next: State your opinion as fact. • Third: Respond as though her facts are opinions. • Fourth: Be sure to let her know what you think of her. • Fifth: Make assumptions about her with impunity. Especially about her age and experience. – Use innuendo and flirtatious language to make sure she knows you’d never let a thing like her being wrong get in the way of your wanting to get in her pants. • Lastly: If a woman calls you out for any of the above behaviors, call her out for being overly sensitive.
  21. 21. How to bro-propriate
  22. 22. Far too many conferences feature talks exclusively hosted by men. • Just this past winter at the World Economic Forum in Davos — the business world’s super-fancy schmooze-fest in Switzerland — a stunning 20 percent of the panels were all-male. • Women were almost entirely absent from the panels this year at congressional hearings discussing the U.S.-Iran deal, even though women were key players in structuring the deal, The Brookings Institution recently noted.
  23. 23. And we end up with all-male panels…
  24. 24. You too may have noted that too many pushing for an improvement. As business (In)visibility of women at forums matters Conferences and panels provide a platform to share experiences and perspectives. When you limit the range of perspectives, you limit the quality of the conversation. - Simon Rothery, CEO, Goldman Sachs Australia Where are the women? Many high-profile conferences, events and taskforces lack gender balance, despite there often being no shortage of qualified women. It is estimated less than 15% of panellists in Australia are women. Less than 12% of experts cited in business newspapers are women. Such optics have consequences. 15% of panellists in Australia are women Consequences of (in)visibility The absence of women at public professional forums is a problem. Because speakers are usually male, audiences are given a narrow perspective. The lack of diversity limits the quality of the conversation and potential outcomes. Moreover, when visible role models are male, the absence of women perpetuates absence of women. Fewer women choose to speak, and fewer are chosen. Without the opportunity for women to serve on panels as thought leaders, women lack profile-building speaking opportunities, an important contributor to experience and recognition. In the rare instances women do present at events, entrenched gender biases often surface, leading to negative experiences for the presenter. Women who speak up may encounter derogatory comments or be perceived as arrogant.
  25. 25. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference
  26. 26. Source: www.feministe.us What conference organizers answer when asked for female speakers
  27. 27. Yet, The Odds That a Panel Would 'Randomly' Be All Men Are Astronomical • One mathematician’s formula suggests that all-male lineups don’t “just happen,” despite what conferenceorganizers might claim.
  28. 28. The gender gap in public speaking is not random • It is the consequence of internalized cultural norms: – Women’s lower encline to speak in public and/or self promote. – Men’s greater visibility towards public eye – Conference organizers’ unconscious bias
  29. 29. Taking a stand on visibility of women at forums You too may have noted that too many panel appearances and speaking engagements are offered to men. Too few are offered to women. The imbalance continues. The Male Champions of Change, Chief Executive Women and Women’s Leadership Institute Australia are committed to calling out imbalances and pushing for an improvement. As business leaders, we pledge that whenever we are invited to be involved in or sponsor a panel or conference, we will inquire about organiser efforts to ensure women leaders are represented. This “Panel Pledge” is effective and simple to implement. It serves as a reminder at an opportune moment of influence. Where are the women? Many high-profile conferences, events and taskforces lack gender balance, despite there often being no shortage of qualified women. It is estimated less than 15% of panellists in Australia are women. Less than 12% of experts cited in business newspapers are women. Such optics have consequences. 15% of panellists in Australia are women Consequences of (in)visibility The absence of women at public professional forums is a problem. Because speakers are usually male, audiences are given a narrow perspective. The lack of diversity limits the quality of the conversation and potential outcomes. Moreover, when visible role models are male, the absence of women perpetuates absence of women. Fewer women choose to speak, and fewer are chosen. Without the opportunity for women to serve on panels as thought leaders, women lack profile-building speaking opportunities, an important contributor to experience and recognition. In the rare instances women do present at events, entrenched gender biases often surface, leading to negative experiences for the presenter. Women who speak up may encounter derogatory comments or be perceived as arrogant.
  30. 30. Conferences are a business and the social media backlash can be drastic • Example of a tech conference in the US: – It was pointed out on Twitter that the lineup so far is white males. – This became frenzied and shared with allegations of racism/sexism. – This put the sponsors in an awkward position regarding commitment to the conference. – This meant the venue contract couldn't be signed because of a potential lack of financial security. – Since the team can't be personally liable for the costs, there was a hard decision to be made. – That decision was: cancel.
  31. 31. And some websites start to “make fun” of this situation
  32. 32. So what can you do?
  33. 33. The Women’s Leadership Institute in Australia put together a handy toolkit for those who want to say no
  34. 34. The #Panel Pledge movement started in Australia • It’s easy! When you’re invited to participate on a panel, ask the organizers who else is speaking. • Tell them you’ve made a pledge to avoid all-male panels and can’t speak if there are no women going. • Then suggest some women that might be great for the event. • Reserve the right to bail out at the last minute if your requirements aren’t met. • And speak up about the need for a diversity of voices!
  35. 35. In Sweden and Norway, male speakers are now refusing to participate in conferences and panel discussions without female representation. • 70- 80 percent of all the experts in media today are men, and if we continue to organize all- male panels and jurys we keep reproducing the image of an expert as a man. • Saying no to all-male panels is an easy way to let more people contribute to a concrete change. • The Norwegian initiator Benja Stig Fagerland, Founder and CEO of Women Sp3akers, sees the Say No campaign as part of a new, international wave of feminism that is driven by social media.
  36. 36. If you attend a conference • Leverage social media! • Point out gender imbalances when you see them • #allmalepanels
  37. 37. If you are a conference organizer • The ingredients are simple : – Open an inviting call for presentations (CFP). – Select talks anonymously, and state in the CFP that you do so. – Encourage people from under-represented groups to submit to the CFP.
  38. 38. When President Obama held his last news conference of 2014, he called on eight reporters — all women. • It made headlines worldwide. Had a politician given only men a chance to ask questions, it would not have been news; it would have been a regular day.
  39. 39. Actively look for women speakers
  40. 40. For women speakers: dare!
  41. 41. Join our speakers bureau!

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