Bernice Sandler

The chilly climate.

Women get interrupted a lot more than women men. Men get substantive, useful interruption; women get subject-changing interruption. This is true of all outsiders.

Women get much less eye contact.

Men get asked idea questions, women get fact questions.

Men get praised for being smart; women get praised for working hard.

Women don’t talk as much at meetings.

Surprise! – this woman has something interesting to say.

Pay attention when women are talking. Often what you see when a woman is talking is people looking around, finding a kleenex…

[I’m liveblogging! I’m totes paying attention, and Melody asked me to (and I’m happy to). I’m listening. I’m looking down most of the time because I’m typing.]

The rules of interruption:

The more powerful person gets to interrupt.

Men use the Voice of Authority. Women talk more softly and often in a higher register, and they apologize.

But hey – there’s research that shows talking softly encourages others to speak. Here’s the deal: everybody needs to be able to do both.

Informal rules. You learn them by talking to people. Relevant to going to lunch.

Men determine the subject of conversation. Women don’t.

We all do these things. Sandler once found herself looking at a watch repeatedly during a meeting – and suddenly noticed she was looking only while a woman was talking, never while a man was.

Women are treated in these ways because they are devalued.

A lot of us have trouble being direct.

[Battery at 38%]

Adapted biblical passage for the end.

[Battery at 44%]


  1. brucecoppola says

    I don’t use the voice of authority.

    I AM the voice of authority.


    But seriously, now you’ve got me wondering how much I do those things. Which I suppose is at least partly the point.

  2. says

    Ophelia: Is there a link to a paper on this? (nb: fact question.)

    “Men get asked idea questions, women get fact questions.”

    In the course of any given exchange, it is always the asker of a question, any question, who gets to sit in the power chair.

  3. monad says

    Women get interrupted a lot more than women.

    Just wanted to call attention to this sentence. In context, it’s clear what you’re saying, but I got stuck on it before I made it to the context.

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