University of Delaware

Women receive less credit for speaking up

Women receive less credit for speaking up in the workplace than men, finds study.

Women receive less credit for speaking up in the workplace than their male counterparts, a study has found.

“In sum, we find that when men speak up with ideas on how to change their team for the better they gain the respect of their teammates—since speaking up indicates knowledge of the task at hand and concern for the well-being of the team,” said Kyle Emich, from the University of Delaware in the US.

“Alternatively, when women speak up with ideas on how to change the team for the better, they are not given any more respect than women who do not speak up at all, and thus are not seen as viable leadership options,” Emich said.

In the study published in the Academy of Management Journal, Emich said when most individuals imagined a leader they were likely to expect that leader to be a man by default.

On average in 10-people teams, Emich said, men who spoke up more than two-thirds of their teammates were voted to be the No. 2 candidate to take on team leadership.

“Women who speak up the same amount are voted to be the No. 8 candidate. This effect size is bigger than any I have seen since I began studying teams in 2009,” he said.

Further, in the team’s second study, a lab study of working adults, Emich said, “We find that men are given more credit than women even when saying the exact same thing.”

This reminds us about Miranda from the movie Sex and the City. Miranda, a successful lawyer, had to leave her job because her boss never gave a chance to speak up and took credit for her work. There was a scene where her boss raised his hand during an important board meeting indicating Miranda to shut up!

The astonishing study result has only confirmed our doubts. “Yes, it’s true,” said Anindita Rao, a senior manager at an MNC, adding, “It’s easy being a woman but it’s difficult being a strong woman at workplace. A lot of times I am not taken seriously and my ideas about bringing about change in the team to improve performance often fall upon deaf ears.”

This subtle gender stereotyping at workplace is not only a major setback for working woman but also sends out the message that we are not yet ready for strong women at workplaces who could prove to be far better workers than their male counterparts.

–The Times of India