Monday, November 1, 2010

Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz on women getting talked over in meetings

Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz
Fourteen thousand women convened in October at The Women's conference, hosted by California first lady Maria Shriver. In this report on the Women's Conference from the excellent Glass Hammer blog, a panel of top women CEOs at the conference talked about the barriers that remain for working women--and the challenge of women getting ignored and talked over in meetings apparently doesn't just happen to the junior staffers.  On the panel were tough-talking Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo! Inc., whose first speech there was chronicled on this blog; Anne Mulcahy, Former Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation; Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks & President, Disney/ABC Television Group; and Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church (and one of our "top women speakers" as nominated by readers). Mulcahy noted barriers for working women, and then:
Bartz agreed – she said, “I don’t think we’ve made progress. I don’t think there is a level playing field"....She reiterated a common complaint of women executives. “The thing that really annoys me is when a woman will say something in a meeting and everyone ignores her. And three minutes later a man will say it and it’s a great idea.” While it’s hard to imagine anyone ignoring Bartz, she says it continues to happen to her today in her work on Cisco’s board. But, she exclaimed, “Now I go, ‘I just said that!’”
Bartz (and the rest of us) are in good company:  Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has described getting talked over and ignored in meetings with her male peers on the court, who later made the same points and were recognized for it.

Are these--or any--women getting ignored in meetings because they aren't as good as men at speaking up?  Far from it. That's one of the 4 myths you should stop spreading about women and public speaking.  The author of this study of women speaking up in meetings noted:  "Study after study has found that, when other variables are controlled (education, expertise, etc.), women are responded to more negatively than men as measured by facial expression, gaze behavior, individual evaluations, and decision reached in task-based groups."

Have you made points in a meeting, been ignored and watched a male colleague repeat them later, for credit? What's your experience with speaking up in meetings? Share your experiences in the comments.

Related posts:  Book offers study of women speaking up in meetings

How speaking up affects your image in business meetings

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