Politics

Women Who Worked for Obama Used This Tactic To Be Heard

If you're sick of men dominating the conversation in meetings, you could try out an effective tactic used by women who work in the White House.

A recent piece by The Washington Post details the difficulty women on Obama's staff experienced, from "elbowing" their way into meetings to having their voices ignored once inside.

This was especially a problem during Obama's first term, when "two-thirds of his top aides were men," according to the Post.

"So female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called 'amplification': When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own."

As The Post points out, being "in the room" and in as close proximity to the president is essential to gaining power and influence. So the tactic was crucial – and ultimately it worked, gaining the attention of Obama himself. The Post reports:

“'We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,' said one former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Obama noticed, she and others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides."

The strategy reveals the importance of having more than one woman in the room.

Even women who don't work in the White House can likely relate to this problem. As ATTN: has previously reported, men "take up 75 percent of the time in an average professional meeting" and are "more likely to interrupt women to assert power."

To utilize "amplification" in order to better make their voices heard, there need to be multiple women in a meeting or on a team.

The female staffers who use this form of communication are part of a wider, historical struggle to break through "the ultimate glass ceiling," because in 200 years, only men have served as president, notes the Post.

But if Hillary Clinton wins in the upcoming election, the Post writes: "Not only would she break a gender barrier by winning the presidency, she also could bring in a female chief of staff — another first in the White House — as she did as first lady, as a senator and as Obama’s secretary of state."

Read the rest of the Post article here.