Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Women speak less when they're outnumbered

Date:
September 18, 2012
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
Scholars examined whether women speak less than men when a group collaborates to solve a problem. In most groups that they studied, the time that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation – amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke. The disparity vanished when groups followed a unanimous voting rule.

New experiments in group decision making show that having a seat at the table is very different than having a voice.

Related Articles


Scholars at Brigham Young University and Princeton examined whether women speak less than men when a group collaborates to solve a problem. In most groups that they studied, the time that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation -- amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke.

The new study is published by the top academic journal in political science, American Political Science Review.

"Women have something unique and important to add to the group, and that's being lost at least under some circumstances," said Chris Karpowitz, the lead study author and a political scientist at BYU.

There is an exception to this rule of gender participation, however. The time inequality disappeared when researchers instructed participants to decide by a unanimous vote instead of majority rule.

Results showed that the consensus-building approach was particularly empowering for women who were outnumbered by men in their group. Study co-author Tali Mendelberg of Princeton says these findings apply to many different settings.

"In school boards, governing boards of organizations and firms, and legislative committees, women are often a minority of members and the group uses majority rule to make its decisions," Mendelberg said. "These settings will produce a dramatic inequality in women's floor time and in many other ways. Women are less likely to be viewed and to view themselves as influential in the group and to feel that their 'voice is heard.'"

For their experiments, Karpowitz and Mendelberg recruited people to be part of a group and discuss the best way to distribute money they earned together from a hypothetical task. In all, the researchers observed 94 groups of at least five people.

On average, groups deliberated for 25 minutes before settling the matter. Participants voted by secret ballot, but half of the groups followed majority rule while the other half decided only with a unanimous vote.

Notably, the groups arrived at different decisions depending on women's participation -- swinging the group's stance on the level of generosity given to the lowest member of the group.

"When women participated more, they brought unique and helpful perspectives to the issue under discussion," Karpowitz said. "We're not just losing the voice of someone who would say the same things as everybody else in the conversation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher F. Karpowitz, Tali Mendelberg, Lee Shaker. Gender Inequality in Deliberative Participation. American Political Science Review, 2012; 106 (03): 533 DOI: 10.1017/S0003055412000329

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Women speak less when they're outnumbered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918121257.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2012, September 18). Women speak less when they're outnumbered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918121257.htm
Brigham Young University. "Women speak less when they're outnumbered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120918121257.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins