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Man-terruptions: Have you experienced sexism on Zoom?

Forty-five percent of women business leaders say it's difficult to get a word in during virtual meetings. So what's going on online?
Forty-five percent of women business leaders say it's difficult to get a word in during virtual meetings. So what's going on online?

We’ve heard of sexism in the workplace, sexism in the boardroom, and now women are the victims of sexism on Zoom.

Talked over, cut off, ignored. Women have always had a harder time speaking up in the board room, but now that the board room is in their living room, they are being interrupted even more than before. In fact, 45% of women business leaders say it’s difficult to get a word in during virtual meetings. What’s going on online?

It’s called man-terruptions, and it’s happening to women every day while they’re remote working.

So why are women feeling the impact more than men?

“On the one hand, the Zoom issues are everybody’s issues, but there are differences we know between how men and women approach things,” explained Marian Stoltz-loike, the dean of Lander College for Women.

A recent survey by Catalyst says one in five women feel overlooked by colleagues during video calls. Three out of five believe their prospects of getting a promotion in this remote world are worse. Research shows that when male executives speak more often, they are perceived as more competent. When their female counterparts do the same, they are perceived as having a lower competence.

“There’s also been a discussion of what can be done by our leaders to help women to be more routinely included in the conversation,” Stoltz-loike said.

Women need to make sure when they are interrupted, they speak up and finish their thought. Being the first to share and last to speak guarantees that you’ll be remembered as contributing. Also, to control the conversation, Stoltz-loike said, “a woman who is more comfortable speaking up may want to invite her colleague to speak up as well to get that opening.”

Women often feel they must be “perfect” before they present an idea, but this overthinking stops them from participating.

Stoltz-loike explains that “being more comfortable jumping into the conversation and not worrying that you might interrupt.”

And women … don’t focus on how you look in the little box. A Stanford study found that seeing yourself during video chats constantly, in real-time, is fatiguing, causing women to become exhausted and participate less in video calls.

Use the hide the self-view button. Others can see you, but you can’t see yourself.