Women Physicians Speak Out Less in the Classroom: New Research

  • During the large in-person classes, women had a lower rate of both asking and answering questions.
  • During the small-discussion in-person classes, women both asked and answered questions at the same rate as men.
  • In the large virtual classes, women had a similar rate of asking questions but a lower rate of answering them.
  • In the small virtual discussion groups, women had a higher rate of asking questions than men and a similar rate of answering them.
  • Women used deferential language more often than men, such as “Sorry to interrupt” and “Maybe I missed this” before asking a question during both large in-person and large virtual classes, according to lead author Sara J. Cromer. But women and men used the same amount of deferential language in small classes, either in-person or virtual.
  • Women ask questions at the same rate as men in large virtual classes, compared to large in-person classes, where women both asked and answered questions at a lower rate than men did. This means that large virtual groups work better for women than large in-person groups for asking questions.
  • Women ask questions at higher rates than men in small virtual discussion groups and at the same rate as men in small in-person groups. This means that small groups work well for women.
  • Women answered questions at the same rate as men in both in-person and virtual small groups. Again, small groups work well for women.

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Author of ‘New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together', OD Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Workshop Trainer

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Anne Litwin

Anne Litwin

Author of ‘New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together', OD Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Workshop Trainer