In 2017, women can vote, run successful businesses, and even (hypothetically) become President of the United States of America. When it comes to women’s rights, we’ve come a long way. So why is it then, that all over the world from boardrooms to lecture halls and news desks to dinner tables, women are standing up to voice their opinions, but aren’t really being heard?
Well because everyday, women find themselves unnecessarily being cut short or talked over.
More than just an irritation, constant interruption can have a serious effect on their studies, career, and personal lives by actively preventing women from expressing themselves . Whether it’s in a social situation or in the office, the Presidential election or at the VMA’s (we’re looking at you, Kanye), Manterruption is all too real.
Launching in time for International Women’s Day, BETC São Paulo have created a new app that actually lets you track just how frequently Manterruption happens in conversations. Using your phone’s microphone, the app analyzes everyday conversations, differentiates between men’s and women’s voices, and tallies up the grim total. Once this has been calculated, the user receives a personalised graphic featuring their results, ready to be shared on social media.
“We women struggle every day to get our space in the workplace and the right to express ourselves,” said Gal Barradas, BETC Sao Paulo founder and co-CEO Barradas. “When we get there, Manterrupting reduces our participation. We want men to ask themselves: Am I doing this without even realizing it? After all, what’s the point of having more women in a meeting room if nobody hears what they have to say?”
In keeping with the theme of equality, men can make use of the app too, and find out if they are guilty of Manterruption. Once the data starts to flood in, a panel on the website (http://www.womaninterruptedapp.com/) will offer a handy visual to see where in the world women are being interrupted most.
In addition to the app, BETC also released a video that explains how it all works and highlights prominent cases of Manterruption from the last few years. The film poignantly asks not just for free speech, but “full speech” too. To further raise awareness around the issue, Woman Interrupted have teamed up with various artists, both male and female, from all over the world to produce “Portraits of Silence.” These 80+ illustrations all vary stylistically but all share the same message.
“At first glance, it may seem like a small problem, but it reflects deeper issues of gender inequality at work and in society,” said Barradas. “The app is a way of showing that in fact the interruption is real and alarming.”
In a world where apps can listen in on conversations and where online privacy is of vital importance, it’s important to note that Woman Interrupted simply analyzes the voices it hears, without recording them. And, because of this, it’s exciting to see an idea that effectively harnesses the power of tech as a force for social good. Here we can use creativity to better arm ourselves in the fight against gender inequality. For, what’s the point of being able to voice our opinions, thoughts and ideas, if not to be heard and respected?
In 2017, women can do almost anything they want, except perhaps finish a sentence…for now.
Campaign: Woman Interrupted
Agency: BETC Sao Paulo