Help women ensure that their voices are heard

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“I remember at the beginning of my career sometimes, I would like to have a thought in my head, but I didn’t have the confidence to be able to get that thought,” says Nicola Mendelsohn.

“Then I’d like to hear, usually a man, say to the point that I had in my head, and I would like to launch me.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has been described as the most powerful British woman in the high-tech industry.

She leads a team of hundreds, and says she is “open, clear and concise” during the speech. However, she said that women still face an important problem of communication in the workplace.

“Women get interrupted a lot, or people talk about them. I think it is an element that is happening in the workplace where we have actually the condition of women not to speak, ” she told the BBC The Why Factor.

His anecdotal evidence is supported by linguistic research. In spite of the popular belief that women talk more than men, studies consistently suggest, it is in fact men who hog most of the airtime.


And having more women in meetings doesn’t help. The authors of the book the Silence of Sex found in the research that the men out-talked women, even when the group was 60% female. The women spoke as much as men, when they outnumbered them four to one.

Men are generally more vocal in other public forums.

Listen to the BBC World Service, The Why Factor on the Men, the Women and Language

In the public meetings, the men have asked for three-quarters of the questions, on average, while they represent only two-thirds of the audience, according to analysis by Janet Holmes, professor of linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

They have asked nearly two-thirds of the questions during the hearing, was also shared.Be assertive

So how can women ensure that their voices are heard? A quick online search will give a plethora of advice.

A lot of centres on the idea that women are not assertive enough in their use of language. The Washington Post has described as “the woman” in a meeting” as a language of its own.

A recent viral blog post by a former Apple and Google employee advised women to stop using the word “just”, describing it as a “subtle message of subordination, of deference,” which is used most often by women than men.

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And in 2014, the shampoo brand Pantene released an ad to encourage women to not apologize too much. He opened with the question “why do women always apologize?”

Sorry, are they?

According to the University of Oxford language professor Deborah Cameron, the truth is much more complicated.

Although most linguists acknowledge that any division of social, including gender, is bound to affect the use of the language, it says that it is impossible to generalize about male and female speech.

“Almost all cultures have stereotypes and beliefs about it,” said Professor Cameron. “What is interesting, is that there is disagreement on what the differences are in reality.

“In some cultures, they believe that women are much more direct than men, in fact, they are considered to be too direct, and even rude.

“In the West, the stereotype is the reverse; women are shy, diplomatic, and avoid the rudeness and conflict.”

True or false?

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Women talk more than men: in Spite of this belief for a long time, research consistently shows that the sexes use about the same number of words per day, and men tend to dominate in conversations across a range of contexts

Women apologize more than men: there is no evidence to suggest that women apologize more

Men interrupt more than women: It is true and has been confirmed by linguistic research

Men use more aggressive language: No, men and women use a range of language styles and there are many differences between men and women than there are between the sexes

Both Prof Cameron, and Professor Holmes saying that these stereotypes are what they are. In practice, both men and women draw on aspects of the language that are, of course, masculine and feminine, depending on the context and what they want to achieve.

“There is so much difference between men or women as there is between the two,” said Professor Cameron. Competent, but she doesn’t like

However, for women, there may be a cost to the use of “male” language.

“There is something that psychologists call it the competence of the popularity of the problem,” said Professor Cameron. “A woman who is considered competent will be seen as less sympathetic.”

An american study of the evaluations of the performance of the technology sector has found that women were much more likely than men to be given negative feedback about their personality or manner.

Words like “authoritarian”, “abrasive”, “loud”, and “aggressive”, has surfaced several times for women but not for men.

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Nicola Mendelsohn, says she has been given this feedback at the beginning of his career, but he has learned to ignore it.

“These are the words that are used differently for men and for women. And for women in general, they are used in a negative sense, but for men they are used, strangely, in a positive sense. Therefore, I see it as an example of bias.”

Because of this bias, Professor Cameron said that the result of the advice to be more direct, in fact, could be counter-productive.

“There is a whole industry that says” empower yourself by changing how you speak and you will be treated like the men are”. In fact, unfortunately, this is not the case; women are not judged in the same way as men.

“A woman who claimed to is deemed to be authoritarian and aggressive because it goes against our stereotype of what feminine behavior should not be. So the answer is not only to imitate the men.”

Which raises the question, what is the answer?

“The men as much importance as the women here,” says Nicola Mendelsohn. “Men can be allies here.

“We need men to actively sponsor women, for men to say,” I am you, I believe that you can do, how can I help you?’.”