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Mansplaining, Manterrupting & Bropropriating:
Gender Bias and the Pervasive Interruption of Women


a man interrupting a women to explain to her something that she actually knows more about than he does
the unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man
a man taking a woman’s idea and taking credit for it


Mansplaining, Manterrupting & Bropropriating:

Gender Bias and the Pervasive Interruption of Women

1980s. Researchers were exploring and writing about how often women get interrupted by men in academic and professional conversations.

1990s  This topic had become such a sophisticated area of inquiry that researchers finessed the definitions of interruptions to better focus their studies on “bad” interruptions...

2015  At the 2015 South by Southwest festival, a panel discussion on technology and innovation that included Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, and Megan Smith, the Chief Technology Officer for the United States and a former Google executive, turned to the topic of the technology field needing to attract, develop and advance more women.  In this conversation, Schmidt and Isaacson interrupted Megan Smith repeatedly as she tried to talk about…the need for women to have a voice in technology.  In the audience Q&A, a woman stood up and asked Schmidt and Isaacson if they were aware of their own gender biases as reflected by how much they both interrupted Smith.  The questioner was Judith Williams, the Global Diversity and Talent Programs Manager at Google.

RESEARCH QUESTION:  Is there a gender difference in meetings, conference calls and/or panel discussions at conferences, especially at the higher visibility leadership levels, in: who is interrupted more, who interrupts more, who is more likely to interrupt whom, who is more likely to realize the interruption behaviors, and how interruptions are perceived and managed?


Click here to read the full research study.


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