It’s not exactly news that it’s hard to be a woman in a male-dominated workplace. Women’s opinions and ideas can go unheard in meetings and other professional contexts — and often, even well-meaning men just don’t notice.
An article that recently caught our eye in New York Magazine’s The Cut shares how one group of women was able to break this cycle and make their voices heard.
The piece details how, at the beginning of the Obama Administration, it was tough to be a woman in the White House. Female staffers were often excluded from important conversations unless they begged male aides for an invite — and when they got in, they were still ignored.
At some point, these female staffers decided enough was enough.
They began using a meeting strategy called “amplification” — repeating key points made by other women during meetings and explicitly crediting the author. By consistently using this approach, female staffers were able to force male staff to recognize their contributions — and keep men from taking credit for their ideas. The strategy proved effective: President Obama noticed and he started calling on his female aides more often. Now, there’s an even gender split among Obama’s top aides.
While it’s certainly not ideal that women need to adopt strategies like this just to be heard in the workplace, it’s important to recognize the power of women banding together to lift each other up. When women come together to make themselves heard, amazing things can happen.
At CommunicateHealth, we feel pretty lucky to work in an environment where we don’t have to fight to be heard. It’s why we were so honored to be named one of last year’s 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). It’s why we make it a priority to support other women-owned businesses. And it’s why we hope that others will stand up to do the same.