Women keen to get ahead at work `need to shut up`
London: Female employees who want to succeed in the workplace should keep their mouths shut, while the more often men voice their opinions the better they are seen at doing their jobs, a new study has revealed.
Research suggests that women who talk too much in the office are seen as less competent than their quieter peers.
The researchers say that chatty women are seen as a nag who is ‘domineering and presumptuous’ if they speak too much.
Their depressing conclusion is that if you are a woman who wants to get ahead you should hold your tongue - especially in front of men.
“When men talk a lot, people want to reward them. But when women do it, they are seen as being too domineering, too presumptuous,” the Daily Mail quoted Victoria Brescoll as saying.
The Yale University research involved asking 156 people to read an article about a fictional chief executive.
The executive was described as either a talkative man, quiet man, talkative woman or quiet woman and the respondents were asked to rate how competent they were on a seven point scale.
Talkativeness was measured as how often the executive voiced an opinion in article.
Talkative men were given a competency rating of 5.64 on average, whilst quiet men were given 5.11.
Chatty women however got just 4.83 versus 5.62 if they were more quiet.
In a separate test from lead researcher Victoria Brescoll, a management professor, she asked the test participants their thoughts on how the gender of U.S. Senators affected what they thought of them when they spoke.
She found a “strong positive relationship between power and talking time for the male senators, but no such effect for the female senators”.
Her conclusions also suggested that women chief executive are seen as significantly less suitable for leadership roles than a male who talks for the same amount of time.
“When men talk a lot and they have power, people want to reward them either by hiring them, voting for them, or just giving them more power and responsibility at work.
“But when women do it, they are seen as being too domineering, too presumptuous. Women perceive this, and that’s why they temper how much they talk,” Brescoll said.
Relationships expert Jean Hannah Edelstein said the findings showed there were still ‘idiotic, negative associations with women who are outspoken as being "nags".’
“The problem seems to be a sexist assumption that women who are talkative are somehow bossy in a negative way,” Edelstein said.
“Perhaps because people expect women to blend into the background - which is, of course, a guaranteed way for them not to advance in their careers.
“Maybe the findings here are less about whether women talk more or less at work and more about an overarching lack of respect for women in leadership positions.
“My advice to any woman who feels like she’s been judged for talking too much is to keep talking, and to encourage her female colleagues to do so as well - it’s the only way that things are going to change,” Edelstein added.