I’m a news junkie. Every night I watch 3 or more news programs. I do this to compare the news coverage across several organizations but also to hear the analysts (not politicians) talk about the day’s events.
Here’s what I’ve noticed when men talk and when women talk. Men will look directly at the moderator and make their points to him (or her). Women will look at the moderator but also at each of the other participants. I interpret this as women want to make sure they include their peers in on the discussion they are leading at the time. I make this claim because I too have done the same. When I’m talking in a meeting and making my points, I make a “deliberate” choice to make everyone at the table feel included in what I’m saying.
However, this could also be interpreted as women look like they need affirmation from the other panelists as they make their case. And now that my brain has gone to this more “negative” view of women on these panels, I can’t get rid of it. While I’d be the first to say women shouldn’t try to be like men but be the best women they can be, it pains me when I watch these female analysts to think there are others judging them as unsure of themselves rather than as inclusive.
Related: Why Is This Still a Conversation?
My own example just goes to show how entrenched our biases are and how what we see says more about us than it does about the person we’re watching. These female analysts on CNN are just as competent, just as persuasive, just as enlightening as their male counterparts and sometimes even more so. But still we hang on to our very myopic view of men and women.
What do you think of when you listen to your female clients? What biases do you hold on to and project on them? And how can you change the dialogue in your head to be more helpful to these clients?
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