There are reasons to be afraid. But there are more reasons to be you.
Most people that know me would say that I am a patient person. Recently while attending a meeting for a project I’m working on, that patience was tested. A man that I work with kept interrupting another woman and I every time we spoke. At first I thought it must have been an accident and I let it go. I attempted to continue expressing my thoughts after he finished interrupting. However, it KEPT happening. I noticed the other woman get quiet. It seemed as though she took the interruptions personally.
Soon thereafter, I was reminded that this was not an isolated experience. In a 2014 study at George Washington University on communication behaviors, the men who participated in that study interrupted women 33 percent more often than when they were talking with men.* This may not seem like the biggest deal but when you’re in a meeting trying to get a point across, the last thing you want is to be cut short. Sometimes I see men interrupt women as a way to assert their power and some women, like the one I work with, are discouraged from speaking. Another study, “Can an Angry Woman Get Ahead?” concluded that men who became angry were rewarded, but that angry women were seen as incompetent and unworthy of power in the workplace.** Angry men are seen as “passionate” and guys who will “do whatever it takes.” Women who do the exact same thing will be labeled as “emotional.” Unfortunately, gender biases have been a part of our culture and still permeate our social lives.
Often, women in the workplace can’t even speak out about these issues or the subsequent feelings of frustration because they fear being reprimanded. So what’s a woman to do?
For me, losing my voice is not an option. I want to be heard but I also want to maintain my professionalism while being liked. I’m sure the man in my meeting meant no harm; he had a thought and just decided to jump in. Once I got used to his habit of interrupting me, I would politely say something like, “I was right in the middle of a point, but you can have the floor as soon as I’m done,” and then continue on with what I was saying. Once politely called out most of the time it will put an end to any rudeness.
In order to have this kind of poise and balance, it is important to have faith in yourself. The more confident you are and the more you are able to identify the bad behavior of other people, the less these things will bother you. As women, it is important to never feel like you have to be more “like a man” to do well in business. Women have amazing unique “feminine” qualities that make us exceptional. We are limitlessly creative, empathic communicators, and we tend to do well under pressure. Yes – there are reasons to be afraid. But there are more reasons to speak up, stand out, and contribute. So be assertive, and fearlessly embrace power of your voice.
The Audacity of the Professional Woman
- Every once in a while, in your quiet time, revisit your personal gifts and makes you valuable.
- Understand that everyone has biases.
- When people try to limit you with their biases and behavior, be kind but confidently pursue your goals.
- Build your support circle with people that reaffirm your self-worth and value. They help prepare you for the moments of testing.
Spiced Masala Shrimp
- 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 2 tsp Life is a Recipe® Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more to taste)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 ½ tsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cups onions (chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1 can diced tomatoes in juice (28-ounce can)
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 2 Pounds Uncooked Large Shrimp (peeled, deveined)
- 1 ½ Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- ½ Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
- ¼ Cup Green Onion Tops (chopped)
- 1 Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk (13 ½ ounce can)
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat.
Next, add in onions and saute until golden brown.
Add garlic, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder and cayenne pepper and mix well.
Puree yogurt and the can of tomatoes with juice.
Add onion mixture to blender and puree again.
In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat.
Add in shrimp and cook for about two minutes.
Add in coconut milk.
Next, Add in green onions, masala mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice.
Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on a bed of rice.