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We tend to mix genders when we arrange ourselves around a table for meetings. A sort of accommodation is made by the men for the women: they make space for us. they are ever-so-slightly polite, we are ever-so-slightly grateful. When we stand up at the end of a meeting, we all give ourselves a metaphorical shake that is only partly the relief of having concluded our business: we are all released from the effort of fitting ourselves together.When men speak in these meetings, women relax; when women speak, men grow tense. I have the impression that they never know what a woman is going to say, whereas they are reasonably sure what a man will address himself to and how he will do it. So are the women; for them, too, men tend to be predictable. Women listen to women with a different kind of attention, and part of it may be loyalty to our gender; we want all of us to do well, as if we have the esprit de corps of subalterns among generals."
Author: Anne Truitt

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