The messages girls receive — from parents and teachers, from books they read, from movies and television shows they watch, and from behavior of the adults around them — can be so powerful that as women they may not even understand that their reluctance to ask for what they want is a learned behavior, and one that can be unlearned.
More recent research that I conducted with two colleagues, Hannah Bowles and Lei Lai, points to another reason that women don’t ask: They face a much chillier reaction — from men and from women — when they do negotiate for what they want.
Babcock suggests that managers need to keep an eye out for inequities in order to retain talented women, but, she adds, "There's a lot that women can do, too."
They can recognize more opportunities to negotiate and master basic negotiation skills. They can learn how to assess and strengthen their bargaining power; research, prepare and practice before their negotiations; and use strategies that won’t make them seem threatening and provoke a backlash.
Have you ever held back from negotiating? Why or why not?