Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ruth Ginsberg on speaking up in meetings

Ever wonder whether more famous women manage to avoid the pitfalls women face when they speak up in meetings? The short answer: They don't. In this USA Today interview, Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives a rare insight into the inner workings of the Supreme Court, focusing on whether women are heard in meetings. She:

recalled that as a young, female lawyer her voice often was ignored by male peers. "I don't know how many meetings I attended in the '60s and the '70s, where I would say something, and I thought it was a pretty good idea. … Then somebody else would say exactly what I said. Then people would become alert to it, respond to it'....Even after 16 years as a justice, she said, that still sometimes occurs. 'It can happen even in the conferences in the court. When I will say something — and I don't think I'm a confused speaker — and it isn't until somebody else says it that everyone will focus on the point."
Ginsburg found herself--as the lone female justice--speaking up in discussions about the case involving the strip search of a 13-year-old Arizona girl during a school's search for drugs. The court recently decided in favor of the girl, but the interview appeared before the decision, which made it highly unusual. And it was an important time to hear a woman justice's voice, coming as the court awaits another female justice's confirmation.

Related posts: How speaking up in meetings affects your image

A book on speaking up in meetings for women

Signaling "let's get down to business" in a meeting

Photo of Ginsburg by Compton & Wright on Flickr