Minding Our Privileges in Meetings

Don’t you just hate it when you’re in a meeting and you share an idea but get ignored, yet another person says it and the room acknowledges the idea? What if you’re the other person who is acknowledged?

I was speaking with a student recently about this unfortunate experience. in her situation, she had proposed a topic to be included in a curriculum but it was ignored by the people in the room. However, when a male faculty member mentioned the same topic, it was readily accepted. My first reaction was that the other person’s position as faculty member might have been the factor as to why this happened. However, she tells me these unfortunate situations typically involve males. As a male, I am not always cognizant of my privileges based on my gender.

We all carry privileges we may not always be aware of. These could include any influence we have in our organizations based on formal titles or stature. While It’s probably easier to notice when we are ignored and get frustrated,  let us all be more cognizant about how others are being treated. When appropriate, use whatever privilege we may have and be the one to make sure their ideas are heard and appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Minding Our Privileges in Meetings

  1. Lisa Endersby

    Great reminder Joe. I had a chat with a good friend yesterday about privileges I don’t even recognize I enjoy. It was confronting yet important for me to see that I do have a ‘seat at the table’ and a power that I can use to further my own agenda but, more importantly, that I can also use to make space for others. It certainly isn’t as simple as ‘bringing others along for the ride’, as my privilege can also crate a narrow point of view where I assume everyone wants or needs to be supported in the same way. However, I appreciate the continued reminder that I perhaps have more power than I know, and to use it wisely.


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