Workplace 'mansplaining' takes a toll on women

Condescension at work is more likely to affect women than men, Fortune reported Feb. 15. 

The publication examined a series of studies from researchers at East Lansing-based Michigan State University and Fort Collins-based Colorado State University. Both women and men were placed in situations where they were talked down to by a man at a faux work meeting; for example, the man might say, "I don't think you're really understanding the task," and re-explain it, after the participant had time to review the instructions. 

Fortune described this behavior as "mansplaining," when a man "inaccurately explains something to a woman in a condescending tone. For example, if a female leader is explaining a poor marketing decision in a meeting, and an entry level male worker from a different department interrupts her to explain what he would have done differently, that would be considered mansplaining. The man does not have the same experience or authority in the situation, yet acts condescending toward the woman who does. 

That distinction is important, because researchers found that women were affected more negatively by mansplainers. 

Women were more likely to feel uncomfortable and avoid working with the man again. They were also more likely to question their own competency and avoid speaking up again after being spoken down to. 

Men were more likely to brush the behavior off. The study suggests that this is because men are used to interrupting one another to affirm one another rather than to interrupt to speak over one another. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars