Let Her Speak: How Small Actions Can Have Important Consquences on Behavior

The idea that seemingly small actions can have significant consequences, both beneficial and negative, is generally well-accepted. But it is important to identify real-life examples that we can put into action.

One such example, in my opinion, is that tidbit from The Economist, where they reported on a study that looked at how often women asked questions at academic conference when the first question from the floor was posed by a woman.

Although half of the attendees at the 247 seminars that were studied in biology, psychology and philosophy across 35 universities in 10 countries were women, men were 2.5 times more likely to pose questions when the first question was asked by a man. When woman asked the first question, the study found that the skew disappeared.

Of course it is of no use if a conference, or for that matter a leadership team, has very few woman in attendance or on the team, but leaders and organizers should take note of the powerful subliminal signal visible representation and participation can send.