SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Just because a woman gets a seat at the table doesn't mean she has a voice at the table, U.S. researchers suggest.
Lead author Chris Karpowitz, a political scientist at Brigham Young University and Tali Mendelberg of Princeton University found in most groups they studied, the time women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation -- amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke.
The researchers examined whether women speak less than men when a group collaborates to solve a problem.
"Women have something unique and important to add to the group and that's being lost at least under some circumstances," Karpowitz said in a statement.
However, the time inequality disappeared when researchers instructed participants to decide by a unanimous vote instead of majority rule or a consensus-building approach instead of a majority rule of 51 percent.
"In school boards, governing boards of organizations and firms and legislative committees, women are often a minority of members and the group uses majority rule to make its decisions," Mendelberg said in a statement. "These settings will produce a dramatic inequality in women's floor time and in many other ways. Women are less likely to be viewed and to view themselves as influential in the group and to feel that their 'voice is heard.'"
The findings were published in the American Political Science Review.
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