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Do You Ask for What You Want? Most Women Don't

by Work It, Mom! Team  |  2188 views  |  2 comments  |       Rate this now! 

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In a New York Times article, Linda Babcock, co-author (with Sara Laschever) of Women Don't Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation --and Positive Strategies for Change, looks at the reasons why most women avoid negotiating. There are many, and most of them are learned, rather than innate. For example:

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?

2 comments so far...

  • Pumping has made me ask for what I need. Twice, I've been off site and just went up to the facility contact and asked for a place to pump. It was not a problem either time. It makes me wonder what other situations would be made easier if I just asked for what I needed.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by bsazama on 28th April 2008

  • Just this week I sent an email to my manager telling him that I am curious to know what career path opportunities are available due to a pending resignation from another person on our team.

    If you don't ask, you don't typically receive. That's what I think anyways.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KathyHowe on 17th April 2008