Combating “Bro-priating”—Amplification, and It Works!

By: Amy Epstein Gluck

Last month, I wrote about a WaPo article about a tool that female presidential staffers implemented in the Oval Office called “amplification.”


Juliet Eilperin reported on the meeting strategy employed by the women: “[W]hen a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.

And guess what? It totally worked! The men could not “bropriate” or take credit for the women’s ideas According to Eilperin, Obama recognized the female staffers’ contributions and called upon them more often for advice and strategic advice.

Now, in a new Women In Power article, Eilperin shares that this strategy has gone viral.

Apparently, women in Washington, D.C. from boardrooms to school board meetings have adopted this approach.

Perhaps the nationwide implementation of amplification in our companies, large and small, will stem the tide of subtle sex discrimination, as well as blatant sexual harassment, in the workplace.


Because, really, what is needed? Rich and I have provided workplace tips and strategies to companies, but what is the root of sex discrimination?

Well, as Eilperin reports, a new study from the liberal think tank New America provides some solid answers. In the study, “Not Secondary but Central: Securing Gender in the Mainstream,” the group commissioned interviews with a dozen national security and foreign policy experts to understand why we still define leadership in male terms.

The authors of the study discussed three main causes of gender disparity in that arena:

“1. lack of knowledge and understanding;

  1. cultural and generational barriers to considering gender a policy-relevant variable; and
  2. persistent structural barriers to women’s presence and leadership.”

A fourth unwritten cause is, of course, blatant and intentional sex discrimination by some perpetrators who consider their discriminatory behavior to be “just the way men talk” or “locker room banter.


Are we on the way to more women occupying the C-suite? I don’t know, but the more we talk about it and acknowledge sex discrimination, both nuanced and severe, the better our chances to obtain true equality.

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Amy Epstein Gluck

Amy Epstein Gluck has represented individuals and corporate clients in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and various federal district courts for more than twenty years. Ms. Epstein Gluck’s current practice areas include employment law—advising on and drafting employment agreements; handling employment negotiations, severance agreements, noncompete and nondisclosure agreements, “wrongful terminations” and other EEO matters; representation at the EEOC level; advising employers about discrimination laws and how to remain in compliance, and employment negotiations.