Perhaps one of the biggest things FIRST has taught us is that within a team everyone has to look out for each other and work towards the same goal. In order for this to happen, everyone needs to contribute otherwise the entire team will lack their insight and advice. With this in mind, it is particularly important that women in groups feel able to speak up and speak out as they often bring a unique perspective to the group.
As women, we have to speak up otherwise others will keep speaking without us. A recent study published in the American Political Science Review shows that women are less likely to speak up in mixed gender groups that operate on a majority rule basis. We can see this in our own lives. Through robotics We’ve seen that even though we think we’re about to say something silly, if we don’t speak up, we will miss out on the conversation and discussion entirely. Perhaps this is the the largest value FIRST has instilled in us--nobody knows what we are thinking unless we say it outloud.
In addition to speaking up, women need to speak out by owning their space and negotiating from it. Studies have shown women are just as good--if not better--than men at negotiating. But, here’s the big catch, only when negotiating on behalf of others. When negotiating for themselves, women are significantly worse than men.
It is great to talk about speaking up and out, but theory can lead to analysis paralysis and no real results. Here are our four practical tips to help you speak up and out:
This blog was written by Sarah, Stephanie, and Kassie from FRC 3132, The Thunder Down Under. If you are interested in writing a blog, sign up on the schedule.
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