How to be an ally: Amplify women’s voices

“Having a seat at the table does not mean having a voice.

-Brittany Karford Rogers




The words are silly, but the data is sound. 

Women are less likely to be heard when they speak out. 

Women voices aren’t heard

Women’s voices are often diminished or ignored in conversations. Here are just a few examples:

  • If only one person in a group of five is a woman, she will speak 40% less than each of the men. (Source)
  • Women are 2x more likely to be interrupted when speaking—even by other women. (Source)
  • When female executives speak more than their peers, they are punished with 14% lower ratings. (Source)
  • When men repeat women’s ideas in meetings, they are often praised and given the credit. (Source)

Don’t believe that men are dominating the conversation? created a handy tool that lets you check. 

Amplification in the oval office

Obama was the first sitting president to self-identify as a feminist. One-third of his top aides were women—the most diverse presidential administration in U.S. history. 

Despite this, women in the oval office were still being ignored. 

So Obama’s female staffers took a different tack.

They adopted a new meeting strategy called “amplification.”

When a woman made a key point, the allies in the room restated the idea and gave credit to the woman who said it. 

This forced men to recognize women’s contributions, without claiming the ideas as their own. 

One former aid shared how it benefited the group as a whole: “We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing’…Obama noticed and began calling more often on women and junior aides.”

Allies at work: Amplify women’s voices

Less men claiming women’s ideas as their own. More amplifying women’s voices. 

It’s a genius idea, and incredibly easy to replicate. 

When you hear a minority voice speak up in a meeting, amplify their comment:

  • “I liked PERSON’s idea to do THIS.”
  • “I want to reiterate THIS tactic that PERSON brought up.”
  • “Thanks PERSON for bringing up THIS idea. Very cool.”

You can start doing this today.


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