Why Women Get Punished for Talking Loudly at Work
Women are facing major double standards in the workplace. We can’t wear what we want without getting judged, and we’re criticized for speaking up at meetings. Despite the fact that many women do speak up at work (and loudly), there’s still a pervasive idea that women should be polite and pleasant, no matter the situation. And it may seem like a small thing to give up your voice at work, but it turns out that being quiet will actually cost you more than you might think.
The Gender Gap:
Women are often told to be quiet or face consequences. A study found that women who speak loudly are judged more quickly and harshly than men. The researchers even found that when male and female speakers used the same decibel level, listeners said they were more satisfied with the man’s performance. These findings echo the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” mindset that pervades attitudes about working women in many professions.
Where the statistics come from:
The “unattractive female at work” has been a trope since the 1970s. In 2015, the New York Times published the results of a study on how people react to women who speak loudly in public places. The study was conducted by linguistics professors from University of California, Santa Cruz and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. They found that when a woman speaks loudly in public she’s more likely to be interrupted, ignored or even punished. There are few studies on how men are punished for speaking too loudly in public spaces, but they did find one study where men who speak loudly were more likely to be given leadership roles than quieter men.
How to solve the problem:
When you understand what is triggering this behaviour, it becomes easier to deal with. When a woman speaks loudly in an office setting, she is often trying to speak up because she doesn’t want to be overlooked. She wants people to pay attention. But when her voice carries over other conversations, it’s more likely that her colleagues will notice her. It’s not always easy for women to gain the same respect as men in the workplace, so they might have louder voices. There are many ways to solve the problem, but first, you should listen and observe your coworkers – see what triggers their loud voice too!
Where we’re heading:
Apparently, we’re at a point in society where we need to make a rule about the volume of voices. Society needs to be more mindful and less prejudicial towards women who speak loudly.
In order to ensure that women can talk openly without fearing punishment, we need to create an environment where they feel safe and respected.
The issue of women talking loudly at work is a complicated one. While some may view it as an egregious rule violation, others might see this as a way to challenge the status quo. In order to make things less complicated, managers should think about the possible reasons why someone would need to speak loudly in office spaces and come up with solutions that can be implemented in a respectful and sensitive manner. We need to change the social notion that women talking loudly is a negative trait and thus, by nature, deserves punishment. This is not true: it is just another manifestation of systemic oppression of women’s speech and expressions.