Make space for women’s voices

January 9, 2021

“Having a seat at the table does not mean having a voice.”

Researchers from Brigham Young University found that even when women are included at the decision-making table, systemic barriers, gender stereotypes and unconscious bias collude to prevent them from being heard. That is, they are ignored, interrupted, do not receive equal speaking time or are silenced, even by well-meaning colleagues and peers.

This is big, in our thinking about gender equity action for 2021, because every one of us occupies positions in the community where we might make a difference to whether women and gender-diverse people are truly heard or not. Think about your volunteer group, your sport club, that committee you belong to, your local arts council, your workplace, your family…

How can we tackle this in our various spaces? Those same researchers at Brigham Young University reckon “being quiet” and truly listening is the first step.

And then demonstrating allyship with women in your group, protecting and even soliciting the contributions of women at your meeting table.

It’s also about modelling respectful communication and inclusive participation wherever you are – starting from home!

But you know, those researchers have much more to offer on this subject than we can do justice to here. Go and check out the full article here and let us know what you think. Can you better create space for women’s and gender-diverse people’s voices in your meeting space?