As part of Women’s History Month, I want to celebrate the progress we’ve made, while acknowledging we have not achieved equity yet. This month, I’ll be sharing stories of the challenges women face in the workplace.
Challenge #1: Being heard.
I once worked on a team with a parrot.
Well, it was a male colleague, but he had a very bad habit of parroting everything I said. In meetings, he repeated my ideas, my comments, even my jokes.
You know the worst part? Everyone else in the group seemed to only hear him say it. Never me. It was frustrating and annoying and disrespectful.
And my experience is incredibly common.
Many of my women friends, co-workers, and clients have experienced this exact same phenomenon. In fact, repeating and amplifying was even required by women working in the White House to ensure they were being heard in discussions.
Some of the other ways that women aren’t fully heard include being interrupted, being dismissed, or being labeled as too “something” (shrill, emotional, etc.).
For my parrot problem, the strategy I used was to feed him lines that I knew the group would be more receptive to hearing from him. This worked reasonably well, but it took lots of extra effort and energy on my part to plan out in advance.
I would have preferred to simply say what was on my mind and know that the group was going to hear me and acknowledge it as part of our discussion.
If you want to be part of the solution, what can you do? Take some time to check in with everyone on your team to see if they feel heard. And if they don’t, commit to take action to change it.
Image by me.