It is known that women in tech is a minority. One common challenge that women in tech often faces is the hostile communication style of their male colleagues. This includes being talked over to the extent that you lost your voice and your presence; or being ignored completely when you hold people accountable; or being belittled or have your point being stolen by others as if it was theirs.
Some did that intentionally, a combat from the feeling of being taken-over by women. Some did that as a response to their hurt-ego, feeling threatened. Most did that unintentionally, unaware of the effect of their style of communication on the woman counterpart. Regardless of the reason, out of basic respect for each and every individual, no woman should tolerate such bad behavior. While one may feel victimized, unseen, unheard and unwanted, it is so important to wake up to the fact that only you get to decide who you are and what is the limit of your potential. It is empowering to know that no one has permission to define you without your agreement. Staying in this victim mindset does no one any good as it only diminishes you and your full potential while enables the bad behavior to continue.
So how should women respond when thrown in such a situation? Know that these bad manner reflects on the lack of character of the person speaking and has nothing to do with you or your ability. Stop the natural reaction of self-doubts and wanting to hide. Instead, Invest in yourself in knowing your worth so you can carry yourself in confidence. Establish a space to give grace. You respond but refuse to react. Under no circumstance do you allow yourself to degrade your civility because of what others did.
This collection of “She Matters lines”, when said in a manner that is calm and collected and respectful, can be very powerful. I have to admit that it does not come naturally. Rehearse, practice, rehearse and practice and rehearse again before such situation comes up; not just for self-defense, but to build skill to help other women, and to cultivate a more positive working culture based on respect.
These “SHE-MATTERS LINES”:
“Please will you respond to my question.” “Why you didn’t bother to respond to my question?” “Reclaiming my time.” the House Financial Services Committee hearing July 2017 Maxine Waters, Congress Women, July 2017
“Please do not interrupt me.” Response to Google Anti Diversity Memo Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Google unit YouTube, August 2017
“Do the women get to talk around here?” White House Dinner Sept 2017 Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, September 14, 2017
What are some of the “She Matters Lines” that you use and find effective?
Please share in the comments!