Manterrupting:
What It Is and 5 Ways to Stop It

Manterrupting defined: When men interrupt women.

In every WLF program I have facilitated in the last five years, the issue of men interrupting women has been raised as a problem. Research corroborates the experience of women lawyers, and has for a long time. In fact, it’s been three decades since researchers recognized that in mixed-gender conversations, women are interrupted more often than men.

The term manterrupting caught on in 2015 after a woman asked male speakers on a technology panel discussion about interrupting a female federal government technology official.  Manterrupting follows “mansplaining,” a word introduced in 2008 to mean the tendency of some men to explain things to women that the women already know.  Recent research by linguist Kieran Snyder revealed that men interrupt other people in work meetings at twice the rate women do, and that men are three times more likely to interrupt women.

Sadly, women lawyers report they often respond to being interrupted by “ceding the floor” to the interrupter. In effect, when women are interrupted, they may opt out of the conversation entirely. Afterward, they feel disrespected, invisible, stuck and frustrated. Not good for women seeking empowerment and satisfaction in law firms.

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