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The one simple work habit that could boost your career

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It’s no secret that the men in your office might be making more than you—even if you have the same title and experience. While not everything causing the gender pay gap is in your control, a new study highlights one habit that could help narrow it a little, at least in your own life.

New research shows that men ask more questions than women at career conferences despite women making up the majority of attendees, Science magazine reports. On the surface, it might not seem like such a big deal, but the researchers say the reasoning is key: Men feel more comfortable in the spotlight and aren’t afraid to speak up.

“It helps you feel like this is your space, that you are part of the community and not just a spectator.”

Asking questions to a packed auditorium is an easy way to stand out from the crowd—and that leads to making connections once the lecture is over. “It [also] helps you feel like this is your space, that you are part of the community and not just a spectator,” says Alison Johnston, a statistical ecology researcher and lead author of the study.

It isn’t just something that happens at conferences. Even at meetings in the office men are more likely to speak up—and sometimes, over others. So if you have something to say or ask, let’s get those hands in the air. And wave ’em like you do care—extra hard—since men are more likely to be called on, starting in grade school (sigh). Any questions?

Speaking of the pay gap, these are the best and worst states for women’s equality. Plus, here’s how to get promoted at work—from outside the office