If you’re female and you’re having difficulty being heard in meetings, you’re not alone. A different approach could be just what you need. Here are some approaches to speaking up that have worked for other women.
In an age where nearly one-third of both the key managers of all companies, and the directors of top companies, in Australia are female, it seems incongruous that women in business still struggle to make their voices heard.
July 2018 statistics from the Australian Institute of Company Directors indicated that 28 per cent of directors in the ASX 200 were women. Meanwhile, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2016-17 data, 30 per cent of key management personnel were women.
So it’s not as if the female were a foreign species in business anymore.
It’s true nevertheless, and the problem is particularly acute when you’re the only woman in the meeting.
“For women, being heard is a genuine and widespread problem,” says Jane Bridge, managing partner, Boardroom Partners, a board search and advisory company that has placed many women on boards.
“We’ve had a number of women who refused board memberships because they didn’t want to be the first woman on the board,” she observes. “They’d done it before and it was too hard.”