Basically, I often feel ignored in conversations involving men. It doesn’t have to be a large group: 2 other people and I - that’s enough for me to notice this effect. It doesn’t happen in women-only groups, and usually, the more men, the more ignored I feel.
The actual symptoms:
- Not hearing me. Example: someone asks a question and I provide the answer and the whole group behaves like if I didn’t say anything. Then, they either proceed to ponder wrong answers or someone else says exactly what I said a second ago and gets acknowledged. To clarify - I’m not speaking too quietly.
- Talking only among themselves on topics I can’t possibly contribute to. Example: talking about people only they know, etc.
- Not giving me space to express myself, not asking my opinion while taking into consideration opinions of all the other people present.
- Not letting me enter a conversation. When there is a meeting or there are more people present, it’s sometimes hard to get a chance to speak, because others are constantly talking. But generally, if a person starts speaking or makes non-verbal signals that they would like to say something, they get acknowledged and are given a chance to speak. My signals often don’t get acknowledged and after few tries, I just give up.
Now, I’m an introvert and I’m a good listener, but that doesn’t mean that I have no opinions or no charisma. I know that despite of all the achievements of feminism, we still live in largely patriarchal society, where people view others through gender norms. Still, I wonder how much of what I’m experiencing is caused by the fact that I’m a woman or is it due to my personality somehow not translating well. It’s really frustrating, especially in a work setting.