Woman Interrupted tracks how often a male voice interrupts a female voice
Hey, you know all those times you’ve been trying to make a point about something and some dude has interrupted you and taken over the conversation? Have you ever wished you could get some data on this just to prove that these “manterruptions” are a real thing? Well, in honor of A Day Without Women, we wanted to share an app with you that will do just that.
It’s called Woman Interrupted, it’s free, and it was just launched on Monday. Here’s how it works: after you download the app, take a minute to calibrate it to your voice, male or female, so that it can identify you. Then, when you start having a conversation you want to analyze, just open the app and press record. The app will count how many times a man interrupts you if you’re a woman, or how many times you interrupt women if you’re a man. (Although, we have to say, we’re not sure how accurate this could possibly be for a man who has downloaded it to test himself. Seems like turning on an app that will count how many times you interrupt someone will make you think a lot harder before interrupting someone. But we digress.)
The app’s developer, Gal Barradas of Brazil, was partly inspired to create the app after watching the first Presidential Debate in September when Donald Trump famously interrupted Hillary Clinton a total of 51 times over the course of 90 minutes, 25 of which happened in the first 26 minutes. Clinton, meanwhile, interrupted Trump just 17 times. This is a situation most women are familiar with, and when it happens we all make the same face Hillary did. You know the face we’re talking about. The long-suffering, trying-to-stay-amused face that says, “Oooooookay. So here’s this asshole again.”
The site for Woman Interrupted makes a point of saying that conversations are not recorded — they are turned into data and are not stored on your device. That data can be totaled up so that in addition to checking the numbers for a conversation you can also see how many times you were manterrupted that day, week, month, or (if you want to get really pissed off) even that year. Barradas has also emphasized that not all men know that that they are doing it: “We want men to ask themselves: am I doing it without even realizing it?” she told the Huffington Post.
But don’t fool yourself — women really do get interrupted more than men. In an op-ed for the New York Times called “Speaking While Female,” Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton business school professor Adam Grant referenced a study that showed that when men spoke more in meetings they were given a 10% higher rating of competence, while women who spoke more got a 14% lower rating from both male and female observers. This shows us that sometimes when women don’t speak up more than men it’s because of a very valid fear that they may be judged more harshly than their male peers.
Woman Interrupted is a fascinating app that allows us to get a real-world picture of how often manterruptions happen. Culture is difficult to change, and sometimes its influence is hard to recognize. Being able to say to a partner or a colleague that yes, in fact, you did interrupt me 15 times in a 20-minute conversation and I can prove it because I have the receipts, could be a powerful way to raise awareness among the men in your life. It could also prove to be a wake-up call for women who may not realize how often their voices are being shut down.
(H/T Huffington Post)