Lessons for women and speaking from the Parish Council
How enthralled have we all been this week by the goings on of a small parish council in somewhere we’ve never heard of! It was compelling viewing. Who needs Corrie? as Sir Chris Hoy tweeted. The colourful characters, The anger, The Drama! Forget the millennials, the fabulously indomitable Jackie Weaver, is an overnight YouTube sensation!
Beyond entertainment however, what are the key lessons from this viral video?
- Tackle Interruptions
Jackie’s experience is the day-to-day experience of all women. Well, not in quite such an extreme way, but women are interrupted every other time they speak. Three times more than men. Jackie gave a fantastic demonstration of how to persist, remain calm and focussed and not allow herself to be shouted down. When people / men shout you down and or talk over you it is specifically designed to silence you. Consciously or subconsciously, it is a ploy to shut you up and dominate. It may feel easier to dismiss it as nonsense and figure that you will just sort it out offline, but then you have allowed your voice to be silenced. Lesson 1 from Jackie – Persist
- Women 4 women
Women have a key role in supporting other women to combat this pervasive cultural phenomenon that says, it’s fine to interrupt and talk over women. Jackie’s colleague, Sue, stood up for her, saying “Could I ask you to be respectful of Jackie Weaver please?” We need to do more of this as we seek to shift paradigms towards more balanced and respectful communication in workplaces.
- Authorised emotions
Perhaps the most hilarious part of the whole thing was listening to some of the participants utterly lose the plot in their fury and frustration. Clearly these people looked absurd getting increasingly rabid as Jackie Weaver calmly held the line as she sought to get the meeting underway. Jackie clearly understands that anger is an “authorised” emotion for men but NOT women. She knew that while in many spheres it’s OK for men to get angry and literally or metaphorically bang the table, if a woman did the same, she would be universally dismissed (by women as well as men) as hysterical, emotional and neurotic. This is unfair but it remains true. If you want to be heard as a woman, you would do well to emulate Jackie’s iron control, and remain calm, even in the face of rude and disrespectful behaviour from others. A masterclass from an unexpected source, Jackie, we salute you!