Silencing experiences for women are far too common. The media tends to pick up on those that are sensational with a larger than life leader/predator abusing those with minimal power trying to navigate their careers. It is hard to imagine how these things can go on so long without intervention and many are questioning the silence behind what is coined the “casting couch” phenomenon. If we step outside of Hollywood and look in other corporate spaces, we will see women silenced in multiple ways, and it is not always by the sexual evil predator disguised as a wealthy and successful businessman.
Women in leadership roles – with inherent power and authority based on their position – struggle with the silencing phenomenon much more than realized. There are at least three reasons why.
The phenomenon of silencing is complex, and the recovery process is not just a flip of a switch when all the sudden words are spoken, and silence is broken. It is never quite that simple. Female leaders can take years to recover fully from a silencing experience, and men have an essential role to play.
What has been your experience with silencing?
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Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University