July 2021

How can I close the authority gap?

Article in Harper’s Bazaar

“You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver!” A chaotic Handforth Parish Council Zoom meeting turned into an internet sensation earlier this year, raising our spirits in the dankest of lockdowns as we watched shouty men being shut down at the click of a mouse by a preternaturally calm middle-aged woman.

If only it were always so easy to close the authority gap, the difference between how seriously we take women compared to men. You know when you come up with a good idea and nobody takes any notice, only for a man to repeat it ten minutes later and it’s treated like the second coming? Or when you’re in full flow, and a male colleague interrupts and starts talking over you? Or when you’re an expert in a subject, but every fact you assert is challenged or disputed by a man who clearly knows less than you?

About the author

Journalist, author, non-executive director, broadcaster

Mary Ann Sieghart spent 20 years as Assistant Editor and columnist at The Times and won a large following for her columns on politics, economics, feminism, parenthood and life in general. She has presented many programmes on BBC Radio 4, such as Start the Week, Profile, Analysis, Fallout and One to One. She chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and recently spent a year as a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She has chaired the Social Market Foundation think tank, is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, and sits on numerous boards.

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Mary Ann Sieghart