From a young age, we are taught that interrupting someone is rude. Yet despite this, women are still continuously interrupted more than men in various settings, including the classroom, according to a study conducted by Stanford University.
Catherine Krupnick conducted a similar study, where female students, on average, would speak much less compared to male students, and if they did speak, once interrupted, would stay out of the conversation entirely afterwards. This problem is also present in department representation within schools.
A professor’s guidance makes a lot of difference, where those who are aware take the initiative to incorporate both men and women students. However, some are not aware of this inequality, and might have their own set of biases.
“You see, even if a professor doesn't shut down inquiry based on sexist stereotypes, they might still provide less information to women based on certain sexist stereotypes,” said Josue Pineiro, a graduate teaching assistant in philosophy.
Even in the workplace women are being interrupted, like Senator Kamala Harris, who was interrupted twice during the Senate’s Russia investigation. Her questions were valid and pertinent to the investigation, but she was written off.
“More women in faculty would help. But also making faculty aware that this is an issue would help as well.” said Josue.
Regardless of these conditions, stereotypes and biases it is time women students speak out. We shouldn’t be intimidated and fearful of interruptions. Instead women students should call men out on their rudeness and speak up more.
“Society has instilled in girls that they should be quiet, polite, and not stand up for themselves, where as it’s the opposite for boys. So it is very important to teach girls now that they can be empowering, strong minded, and independent without feeling like they’re being less of a lady,” said Truc Vu, a second year mechanical engineering major.
Yes, the system has caused men to be more vocal and be bias against us, but the only way to change this is to defy the common misconceptions.This problem isn’t going away, and while we should encourage men to be more considerate of women students, we should also encourage female students to speak out more.