It happens at the office, over happy hour drinks, in the classroom — so many times you don't even notice all the "manterruptions" you deal with on a daily basis, or just brush them off. But now, there is a new tool that could change everything: Woman Interrupted, a new app released March 6, tracks how many times men interrupt women in daily conversations. The app was made available for download on iOS and Android devices on the eve of International Women's Day and the "A Day Without A Woman" strike, when women around the world are preparing to make their voices heard in a day of protest. The app's poignant release date highlights the fact that so often women must fight just to get their point across in everyday life.
There was a time when galling examples of manterruptions, such as Kanye's famous "I'm gonna let you finish..." speech, seemed laughable, but in the current political climate, it's become clear that these interruptions are really just symptoms of a much larger problem. The "Manterrupting" phenomenon has already been documented scientifically in controlled lab settings many times over, and now the mobile app is opening up an entirely new avenue for collecting data, and making it easy to track these upsetting instances.
The app was created by the São Paulo branch of the advertising agency BETC with the hope of generating awareness about manterruptions, as well as promoting gender equality. "At first glance, it may seem like a small problem, but it reflects deeper issues of gender inequality at work and in society," Gal Barradas, founder and Co-CEO of BETC São Paulo, said in a press release. "The app is a way of showing that, in fact, the interruption is real and alarming."
The app uses your phone’s microphone to listen in on everyday conversations and analyzes the voices to determine how many times you've been interrupted by a man. It's true that there's a growing concern for privacy on smart devices, so some may understandably be wary of giving the app the capability to do surveillance using a phone's microphone; however, BETC stresses that the app is not retain any of your private information after analysis. "No conversations are recorded or stored, everything goes from voice to data, automatically," the app assures its users in the introduction.
To get started, simply download the app to your mobile device, and sign in by connecting through Facebook, Twitter, or email. The app will prompt you for information such as your gender, country of origin, and name. It then runs you through a voice recognition test to calibrate the microphone, and identifies the male and female voice frequencies. BETC states that all the statistics gathered from app users will be made available online to educate people about this unfortunate phenomenon.
While people of all genders may be guilty of interrupting women, this app tracks how many times women are interrupted and how many times those interruptions come at the hands of men. What people find when they use the app — regardless of gender — might be pretty shocking.