Illustrated posters and an app call out men for 'manterrupting' women

BETC São Paulo's campaign of artworks draw attention to how men talk over women – while an innovative app shows just how often it happens.


The iOS and Android app listens to your conversations and records how many times you're talked over (if you're a woman) or talk over women (if you're a man).

When you first use the app, you select your language – English, Spanish, Portuguese or French – and calibrate it to recognise your voice. While it doesn't record the conversation, it logs any points of interruption and charts that over time.

The agency also invited artists to create posters showing a woman being silenced by a man's finger, using a blue and pink colour scheme and one of a series of provided taglines.

Image: This is from Swedish illustrator Kajsa Rasten.

The taglines include 'Don't talk until she finishes her sentence. Period', 'All voices are born equal','See. How. Uncomfortable. It. Is. To. Be. Interrupted. All. The. Time.', 'After the right of free speech, we want full speech', 'Women being heard. That sounds pretty good', 'You can't shut up a movement' and 'It's hard to get a point across when you can't even finish a sentence'.

Image: This paper collage artwork was created by British illustrator Rada Lewis.


"We, women, struggle every day to get our space in the workplace and the right to express ourselves. When we get there, Manterrupting reduces our participation," says Gal Barradas, founder and Co-CEO of BETC São Paulo. "We want men to ask themselves: am I doing this without even realizing it? After all, what's the point of having more women in a meeting room if nobody hears what they have to say?

"At first glance, it may seem like a small problem, but it reflects deeper issues of gender inequality at work and in society. The app is a way of showing that, in fact, the interruption is real and alarming."

Image: Artwork by São Paulo-based designer and illustrator Adriana Ferreira.

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BETC is also aiming to launch a Global Dashboard of the data collected to compare results from different countries in real-time - though this sounds like the kind of add-on 'social' or 'scale' idea dreamed up to win awards rather than make an actual difference.

As the app is constantly using a phone's microphone, using it all day isn't feasible unless the phone's plugged in. 

Image: Poster by Brazilian freelance illustrator Pedro Correa.


The app is likely to work best within agencies, studios and teams - running in regular meetings to monitor how often 'manterrupting' happens (or as a reminder to avoid doing it).

To avoid male participants feeling the by running the app, you're already accusing them of behaving that way, you could introduce it as part of an experiment to see if 'manterrupting' is happening unconsciously. And if (when) you discover that it is, everyone can express shock and (hopefully) use self-awareness to stop doing it.

Image: Akiiira is an illustrator from Porto Allegre, Brazil.


Image: Ana Romero is an "enthusiastic and cheerful" illustrator/graphic designer from Venezuela, currently based in Berlin.

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Image: This poster is by Brazilian/Italian graphic artist and illustrator Bárbara Malagoli.


Image: Poster by J P Bortolini.

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Image: Artwork by Julian Belik.


Image: Riddhi Desai is an artist from Bangalore, India.

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