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12th September 2017

Women less comfortable making their voices heard at work

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New research from RADA in Business has found that women are significantly more likely than men to feel unable to speak up in the workplace. The research found that only 8% of women found it easy to make their voice heard in the workplace, compared to 15% of men. The survey found that women were 33% more likely than men to feel uncomfortable in meetings with their manager, and 12% more likely to feel uncomfortable when meeting with senior management or board members.

Denise Keating, chief executive at the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) comments:

“This research identifies a major problem with thinking that increasing the number of women on boards is all businesses need to do if the voices of those around the table are not being heard. In shutting down women’s voices, whether consciously or unconsciously, employers are failing to take advantage of the benefits gender diversity brings.

“The main issue at play is the social contradiction which says vocal women are bossy, but vocal men are assertive. This nurture based behaviour means women can be talked down easily in a male dominated workplace.

“The trouble is, this starts much earlier than the workplace. Employers can and should do more; ensuring that everyone can speak at a meeting, not just alpha males, should be a basic courtesy, let alone a sensible way to do business. However, the concept of bossy girls being bad starts at a much earlier age, and this needs to change in order to ensure more women feel comfortable expressing themselves at work.”

Read People Management's article for more information.