The Universal Phenomenon of Men Interrupting Women

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For women in business and beyond, it was an I-told-you-so day.

The twin spectacles Tuesday — an Uber board member’s wisecrack about women talking too much, and Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, being interrupted for the second time in a week by her male colleagues — triggered an outpouring of recognition and what has become almost ritual social-media outrage.

Academic studies and countless anecdotes make it clear that being interrupted, talked over, shut down or penalized for speaking out is nearly a universal experience for women when they are outnumbered by men.

A few statistics show that the questions directed at Uber about how women fare in the workplace extend beyond one company, and indeed beyond Silicon Valley. Women make up 6.4 percent of Fortune 500 chief executive officers and 19.4 percent of Congress this year. About a fifth of board members in Fortune 500 companies in 2016 were women, according to research conducted by Deloitte and the Alliance for Board Diversity.

After Arianna Huffington, an Uber director, spoke of how important it was to increase the number of women on the board, David Bonderman said that would mean more talking. He soon resigned from the board. Even in companies without notorious bro-cultures, however, women have had to struggle to feel heard and, as the numbers make clear, to advance to the top.

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