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Survey: Virtual Meetings Pose Barriers to Women

The possibility of women being interrupted and even ignored in online sessions should be on planners’ minds as they develop event agendas and formats.

From the perspectives of productivity, inclusivity, and job satisfaction, it appears online meetings have some work to do. In particular, the opportunities for women to be called upon during group discussions to present their facts, opinions, and recommendations—and then not be interrupted as they do so—still seem to be insufficient.

The proof: In a recent survey of more than 1,100 female business leaders
45 percent say it is difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings, while 20 percent say they’ve felt ignored or overlooked in an online meeting. Further, three in five say their prospects of getting a promotion in the new remote environment are worse than in the pre-Covid-19 environment.

Given these results, planners and executives who lead meetings might want to craft a strategy for allowing all participants to contribute fully during virtual meetings. Doing so will not only elicit better results from the session but also preserve morale—and keep female employees from moving to other organizations if their present employer must use virtual meetings for much longer.

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