To the women of Australia, if you feel like you (or the women around you) are having your credibility chipped away by interruptions, allegations of being “emotions”, you are not imagining it. It’s happening.
Joanna Richards, a PhD student at the University of Canberra, analysed Senate Estimate Committee hearings across ten years to assess the frequency and nature of interruptions by and to male and female witnesses for her thesis, “Let Her Finish”.
“Sobering is how I would describe the findings,” Richards told Women’s Agenda.
The research confirmed the authority and effectiveness of female politicians is limited by masculine communication tactics.
While women made more interruptions than men, their interruptions were used in a positive way to show support or agreement. By contrast, male politicians tended to use negative power-playing tactics.
“When women interrupt, it’s usually in defence, or positively in support of another female speaker or a less powerful speaker, whereas almost 75 per cent of the male interruptions were negatively trying to take power or take the floor from another speaker.”