What is manterrupting?

Eve, Le Blog EVE in English, Gender Gap

You are in a meeting, you are on top of your subject, you have perfectly prepared your delivery and you intervene to bring your expertise and contribute to the collective reflection. And then, a male colleague cuts you off! You bounce back and try again, and then wham, he cuts in again . . . and there you are, cut and recut. 

You are not paranoid, but still, you have a doubt: is he interrupting this much because I’m a woman? This could well be true. . . And this phenomenon even has a name: ‘manterrupting’.

Let’s focus on this notion which has acquired a special place in recent discussions on equality between women and men.

 

One evening at the MTV Video Music Awards. . .

manterrupting Contraction of ‘man’ and ‘interrupting’, ‘manterrupting’ is defined as the act by a man of interrupting a woman whilst she is speaking, without it being necessarily relevant, and sometimes to talk about something completely different.

The term was coined in 2015 by the Time columnist Jessica Bennett to describe the attitude of the singer Kanye West bursting on to the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, just as the singer Taylor Swift began her acceptance speech for the award she had just received. Snatching the microphone, he takes over the stage and leaves her speechless! General outcry followed this interference in a woman’s vocal expression, alongside the realisation that this was far from being an isolated case.

A few days earlier, Sheryl Sandberg and Professor Adam Grant had just published an article in the New York Times ‘Why Women Stay Quiet at Work’ describing the same phenomenon in the corporate world. In the wake of this article, many contributors revealed that it is also common in the media (see the video below), in politics, as well as many other sectors.

 

 

Manterrupting, mansplaining, bropropriating. . .

bropriating The appearance of the term ‘manterrupting’ is accompanied, in many articles, by revisiting the notion of ‘mansplaining’. This concept, coined by the writer Rebecca Solnit in 2008, describes the situation in which a man interrupts a woman to explain what she already knows and sometimes with the exact same meaning that she was just in the middle of explaining. Often considered by women as a sign of condescension, this behaviour, which although is not necessarily the result of bad intentions, is particularly frustrating!

There is also another nuance in the same register: bropropriating. Here we are referring to men who take a woman’s idea and take the credit for it. Again, this is not usually malicious, but more the result of unconscious biases: the idea that a man’s comment or opinion bear more weight than a woman’s’, says the management expert Arin N. Reeves.

 

A subject on the academic curriculum for (at least) 40 years

In 1975: Men are 47 times more ‘interrupter’ than women

In 1975, The University of Santa Barbara published a study, based on 31 conversations between men and women which revealed that men had been 47 times more likely than women to interrupt. And that it was first and foremost the women who paid the price.

A ‘battle of the sexes’ for the right to speak?

istock-96418397-copieIn 1981, the psychologist Geoff Beatie wrote a great article published in the Linguistics review confirming a situation of ‘competition’ of the sexes in conversations: new issues of power resulting from the rise of women in public spaces are transposed in ordinary conversational spaces.

A school of thought concerning the expression of ideas is emerging and reveals the existence of a kind of insulated glass ceiling. This ‘ceiling’ soundproofs women’s speech and depreciates their power of influence in discussion spaces.

 Interrupt yes, but to say what?
Serious strategizing into the evening

During the following decade, the linguist Janet Holmes goes on to explain the differences between women and men in the context of interruptions of speech: she highlights that whilst men are predominantly the ‘decider interrupters’ who intervene to disprove, confirm, disqualify or validate the remarks of others, women behave more as ‘complementary interrupters’ who provide additional information and/or binder elements (encouragement, support, compliments, thanks) in the conversation.

A meta-analyse in 1998, conducted by psychology professors Kristin J. Anderson and Campbell Leaper relating to three decades of research confirmed a massive phenomenon and gender differences in the reasons for unexpected and unwarranted interventions.

 

Self-censorship of women: lack of self-confidence or insufficient legitimacy?

stunned young woman covering her mouth for silence In 2002, the work of a researcher in behavioural sciences Marianne Schmid Mast indicates the existence of the social function of speaking: individuals with a high status in society speak more often and for longer. She hypothesises that the speaking differences between women and men result from the differences in their status in society.

In other words, the self-censorship of women relates more to a sense of less legitimacy to speak in an insufficiently inclusive context than a lack of confidence in oneself.

 

 

An issue that begins to integrate corporate diversity policies

 

Observed long ago by the scientific world, often denounced by the activist world, ‘manterrupting’ is also making its name in the business world. Indeed, the increasing maturity of equality policies has resulted in an increasingly precise understanding of the barriers to the affirmation of women in the professional field. Today, we are aware that a lack of diversity finds its roots in complex mechanisms and many unconscious, though deeply embedded, behavioural traits.

 

It is these barriers, invisible to the naked eye, that we must address if we want to attract, retain and advance women as much as men. Not to mention the fact that allowing ‘speech pilferers’ to act with impunity (albeit not intentionally), is to take the risk of depriving themselves of interesting ideas and/or to see distorted, if not outright erroneous ideas retained for the sole reason that they have been forwarded by a more talkative, noisier and in appearance legitimate interlocutor.

 

How to fight manterrupting?

Take notice!

Future uncertainty As always in terms of diversity, awareness is the key. Step out of denial! A simple exercise will help understand the full measure of ‘manterrupting’. For example, during a meeting designate someone to count the interruptions and share the results at the end of the meeting. You can also do this test at home, watching TV or listening to the radio.

 

Beef up listening and empathy!

Your Opinion Counts Concept on Blackboard Any impertinent interruption of others exposes not only the interrupter but also the entire audience, to a loss of knowledge and meaning. To guard against this let us all improve the quality of our listening skills.

Let’s learn how to really hear the words of others as well as recognising the nonverbal signs that are fully part of all conversations. Whether we are in a speaking or listening position, let us keep in mind the other’s point of view, on one side acknowledge the need to express oneself and on the other, that of real attentiveness. A good technique for ‘listening’ conversations is to practise the ‘3-second method’: leave 3 seconds of silence before reacting. Less than 3 seconds is still pilfering, more is a sign of lack of co-operation.

 

The role of the ‘choir leader’
Conductor conducting an orchestra

The fight against ‘interrupting’ is also the role of the leader. A genuine ‘choir leader’ must ensure that all voices are heard.

For example, Glen Mazzara, Producer (including the series The Walking Dead): even though he had gender diversity and parity in his team of screenwriters, he was confronted by the women in the team about their difficulties in expressing their ideas. In short, they were victims of ‘manterrupting’. Only becoming aware after the fact, Mazzara recognised his passive complicity as he had let the men interrupt and had often given more credit to their opinions. He then decided to introduce a ‘no interrupting’ rule in all of his meetings: everyone has sufficient time to pitch their ideas, after which the critical debate begins before a joint decision is made to move on to the next topic.

 

Working on posture and affirming the right to speak

In a ‘manterrupting’ situation, it is not forbidden to show assertiveness. In fact, it is recommended. When someone cuts you off, you are perfectly entitled to protest. Politely but firmly: please let me finish and you can have your say afterwards.

If the problem recurs, why not approach the issue as a team effort, in a co-constructive spirit, setting out the rules of conversation. Everyone has a turn, it’s just organisation!

 

Play the solidarity card

obama And if, like Obama’s female staff, we started to use the amplification strategy?
Explanation: the women in the President’s office adopted the very good habit of systematically repeating a suggestion put forward by one of the female staff members until the subject was on the agenda of discussion, thus focusing the attention of the group on the suggestion. A very effective technique that Obama admitted created
a new dynamic of exchange within his team.

 

 

Elina Vandenbroucke et Marie Donzel, pour le webmagazine Eve. Sur une suggestion d’Anne Thevenet-Abitbol.

 

ET AUSSI…


 

Be yourself and unleash your potential

 

9th edition of EVE Program International
Evian - From 02 to 04 october 2018

REGISTRATION



.

Being aware that diversity in management teams contributes to business performance and that women still encounter difficulties if they want to move up within their companies, we decided to dedicate a unique management seminar to women and "enlightened" men.
The EVE Program works on two levers: the individual and the organization. It aims to shape strong and inspiring individuals in order to bring change in the organization.

Join us:


Take part of the discussion #EVE2018

.

Date : From Tuesday October 02nd to Thursday October 04th 2018

Place: Evian Resort – Rive Sud du Lac de Genève
74501 Evian Les Bains, France.

Costs: 3000€ (excluding VAT, accommodation and transportation).

Individual registration: click here
Companies partnership: For more information, contact us by email:
programme.eve@danone.com

Why participating?

.


1. Refocus, gain confidence

and reveal your talents

.


2. Optimize your relationship with others

both in your personal
and professional life.

.


3. Be stimulated

learn more
on society's issues,
share unique leadership experiences.

.


To know more about the Eve Program, please consult « Why Eve » section.  

Become a strong and inspiring individual to drive change throughout your company.

Schedule

The Eve Program is conceived to alternate phases of inspiration and phases of respiration:

Moments of inspiration: Plenaries
Moments of respiration: Workshops

The main themes during the seminar:

Centered Leadership
Living peacefully with our stereotypes
Women leaders' testimonies
The path of women who dare
How to negotiate around obstacles to cooperation
When women change the world
Build a Career Your Way
A few keys on Non Violent Communication
Providing meaning
Dare to live out your values
Thank you and other powerful rituals to increase happiness
And many others…to discover on site!

They inspired us in 2017


Why these experts support the Eve Program



The highlights of the Eve Program International




The Participants' feedbacks





Registration


  1. (required)
  2. (required)
  3. (required)
  4. (valid email required)
  5. (required)
  6. (required)
 


Companies partnerships: For more information, contact us by email: programme.eve@danone.com



Place and Access

 

 Located in the North part of the French Alps, in Haute-Savoie, Evian is at the heart of a beautiful area,
on the south border of the Geneva Lake, 45 km from Geneva.
The plenary sessions and the workshops take place at the Evian Resort.
Participants and speakers will be accommodated in the Royal, Ermitage, La Verniaz and Hilton hotels.
The Eve team is in charge of booking and assigning you a hotel room together with the partner companies.
We will send you an email to inform you the name of your hotel one week before the event.

Evian Les Bains is accessible by several means of transport:

By plane
Geneva International Airport: 9 daily direct flights Paris-Geneva (50 km from Evian, please consider
a transfer time of 2 hours)

By train
Evian-Les-Bains train station: 15 minutes transfer time
Geneva (Cornavin) train station: direct trains from Paris (50 km from Evian, please consider a transfer time
of 1 hour and a half)

Free shuttles will be at your disposal connecting the Geneva airport and both train stations
(Cornavin and Evian-Les-Bains) to your hotel. (Schedules will be indicated later on).


Official Partners

The EVE Program is based on an original idea from Danone and supported by Crédit Agricole S.A., KPMG, L’Oréal, SNCF, Orange and Caisse des Dépôts.

All the partners share the same vision and have chosen to favour the rising of women in their organization. All of them even have adopted best practices in order to allow women to rise more easily in their companies. Today, more than 50 companies have supported the Program : it is based on companies’ insights and experience of the issue.


Suscribe to the EVE Newsletter

Discover all news about women leadership,
diversity, transformation of organizations,
empowerment, personal development,
and much more.


* This field is required

 

Be yourself and unleash your potential

 

9th edition of EVE Program International
Evian - From 02 to 04 october 2018

REGISTRATION



.

Being aware that diversity in management teams contributes to business performance and that women still encounter difficulties if they want to move up within their companies, we decided to dedicate a unique management seminar to women and "enlightened" men.
The EVE Program works on two levers: the individual and the organization. It aims to shape strong and inspiring individuals in order to bring change in the organization.

Join us:


Take part of the discussion #EVE2018

.

Date : From Tuesday October 02nd to Thursday October 04th 2018

Place: Evian Resort – Rive Sud du Lac de Genève
74501 Evian Les Bains, France.

Costs: 3000€ (excluding VAT, accommodation and transportation).

Individual registration: click here
Companies partnership: For more information, contact us by email:
programme.eve@danone.com

Why participating?

.


1. Refocus, gain confidence

and reveal your talents

.


2. Optimize your relationship with others

both in your personal
and professional life.

.


3. Be stimulated

learn more
on society's issues,
share unique leadership experiences.

.


To know more about the Eve Program, please consult « Why Eve » section.  

Become a strong and inspiring individual to drive change throughout your company.

Schedule

The Eve Program is conceived to alternate phases of inspiration and phases of respiration:

Moments of inspiration: Plenaries
Moments of respiration: Workshops

The main themes during the seminar:

Centered Leadership
Living peacefully with our stereotypes
Women leaders' testimonies
The path of women who dare
How to negotiate around obstacles to cooperation
When women change the world
Build a Career Your Way
A few keys on Non Violent Communication
Providing meaning
Dare to live out your values
Thank you and other powerful rituals to increase happiness
And many others…to discover on site!

They inspired us in 2017


Why these experts support the Eve Program



The highlights of the Eve Program International




The Participants' feedbacks





Registration


  1. (required)
  2. (required)
  3. (required)
  4. (valid email required)
  5. (required)
  6. (required)
 


Companies partnerships: For more information, contact us by email: programme.eve@danone.com



Place and Access

 

 Located in the North part of the French Alps, in Haute-Savoie, Evian is at the heart of a beautiful area,
on the south border of the Geneva Lake, 45 km from Geneva.
The plenary sessions and the workshops take place at the Evian Resort.
Participants and speakers will be accommodated in the Royal, Ermitage, La Verniaz and Hilton hotels.
The Eve team is in charge of booking and assigning you a hotel room together with the partner companies.
We will send you an email to inform you the name of your hotel one week before the event.

Evian Les Bains is accessible by several means of transport:

By plane
Geneva International Airport: 9 daily direct flights Paris-Geneva (50 km from Evian, please consider
a transfer time of 2 hours)

By train
Evian-Les-Bains train station: 15 minutes transfer time
Geneva (Cornavin) train station: direct trains from Paris (50 km from Evian, please consider a transfer time
of 1 hour and a half)

Free shuttles will be at your disposal connecting the Geneva airport and both train stations
(Cornavin and Evian-Les-Bains) to your hotel. (Schedules will be indicated later on).


Official Partners

The EVE Program is based on an original idea from Danone and supported by Crédit Agricole S.A., KPMG, L’Oréal, SNCF, Orange and Caisse des Dépôts.

All the partners share the same vision and have chosen to favour the rising of women in their organization. All of them even have adopted best practices in order to allow women to rise more easily in their companies. Today, more than 50 companies have supported the Program : it is based on companies’ insights and experience of the issue.


Suscribe to the EVE Newsletter

Discover all news about women leadership,
diversity, transformation of organizations,
empowerment, personal development,
and much more.


* This field is required

 

Be yourself and unleash your potential

 

9th edition of EVE Program International
Evian - From 02 to 04 october 2018

REGISTRATION



.

Being aware that diversity in management teams contributes to business performance and that women still encounter difficulties if they want to move up within their companies, we decided to dedicate a unique management seminar to women and "enlightened" men.
The EVE Program works on two levers: the individual and the organization. It aims to shape strong and inspiring individuals in order to bring change in the organization.

Join us:


Take part of the discussion #EVE2018

.

Date : From Tuesday October 02nd to Thursday October 04th 2018

Place: Evian Resort – Rive Sud du Lac de Genève
74501 Evian Les Bains, France.

Costs: 3000€ (excluding VAT, accommodation and transportation).

Individual registration: click here
Companies partnership: For more information, contact us by email:
programme.eve@danone.com

Why participating?

.


1. Refocus, gain confidence

and reveal your talents

.


2. Optimize your relationship with others

both in your personal
and professional life.

.


3. Be stimulated

learn more
on society's issues,
share unique leadership experiences.

.


To know more about the Eve Program, please consult « Why Eve » section.  

Become a strong and inspiring individual to drive change throughout your company.

Schedule

The Eve Program is conceived to alternate phases of inspiration and phases of respiration:

Moments of inspiration: Plenaries
Moments of respiration: Workshops

The main themes during the seminar:

Centered Leadership
Living peacefully with our stereotypes
Women leaders' testimonies
The path of women who dare
How to negotiate around obstacles to cooperation
When women change the world
Build a Career Your Way
A few keys on Non Violent Communication
Providing meaning
Dare to live out your values
Thank you and other powerful rituals to increase happiness
And many others…to discover on site!

They inspired us in 2017


Why these experts support the Eve Program



The highlights of the Eve Program International




The Participants' feedbacks





Registration


  1. (required)
  2. (required)
  3. (required)
  4. (valid email required)
  5. (required)
  6. (required)
 


Companies partnerships: For more information, contact us by email: programme.eve@danone.com



Place and Access

 

 Located in the North part of the French Alps, in Haute-Savoie, Evian is at the heart of a beautiful area,
on the south border of the Geneva Lake, 45 km from Geneva.
The plenary sessions and the workshops take place at the Evian Resort.
Participants and speakers will be accommodated in the Royal, Ermitage, La Verniaz and Hilton hotels.
The Eve team is in charge of booking and assigning you a hotel room together with the partner companies.
We will send you an email to inform you the name of your hotel one week before the event.

Evian Les Bains is accessible by several means of transport:

By plane
Geneva International Airport: 9 daily direct flights Paris-Geneva (50 km from Evian, please consider
a transfer time of 2 hours)

By train
Evian-Les-Bains train station: 15 minutes transfer time
Geneva (Cornavin) train station: direct trains from Paris (50 km from Evian, please consider a transfer time
of 1 hour and a half)

Free shuttles will be at your disposal connecting the Geneva airport and both train stations
(Cornavin and Evian-Les-Bains) to your hotel. (Schedules will be indicated later on).


Official Partners

The EVE Program is based on an original idea from Danone and supported by Crédit Agricole S.A., KPMG, L’Oréal, SNCF, Orange and Caisse des Dépôts.

All the partners share the same vision and have chosen to favour the rising of women in their organization. All of them even have adopted best practices in order to allow women to rise more easily in their companies. Today, more than 50 companies have supported the Program : it is based on companies’ insights and experience of the issue.


Suscribe to the EVE Newsletter

Discover all news about women leadership,
diversity, transformation of organizations,
empowerment, personal development,
and much more.


* This field is required