The Atlantic

Why Is the Onus on Women to Curb Workplace Interruptions?

Some businesses are actively taking steps to solve a problem that is too often left to female employees.
Source: Alex Brandon / AP

The recent spectacle of Senator Kamala Harris’s male colleagues repeatedly cutting her off at Senate Intelligence Committee hearings is the latest reminder of what several studies dating back to at least 1975 have shown, and what female professionals have been saying for decades: All too often, women at work can’t finish a sentence without being interrupted, usually by a man.

Part of the problem with the usual advice for curbing these interruptions is that it puts the onus on women to do something differently. They are frequently encouraged to speak up—even though this is what they are so often prevented from doing in the first place and even though some men seem to view any amount of speech from a woman as annoying and superfluous. (The latest prominent example was David Bonderman

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
How American Women Are Amplifying Their Political Power
“I am not interested in building the capacity of people who are in office that want to take away my health care.”
The Atlantic2 min read
Free Solo Is Not a Life Lesson
Alex Honnold’s historic climb is too extraordinary to become a story of motivational-poster determination.
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
The Electoral Time Machine That Could Reelect Trump
White Christians are no longer the majority in America, but they’re still driving election results.