Yesterday I read an article from MSNBC that talked about how gender influences salary discussions. “Salary, gender and the social cost of haggling” exposed different reasons as to why women earn less money. In the article several points were discussed but two caught my attention.
One of the points why women do not earn more money is because they do not ask. In the article, they have cited examples and group test whereby women asked for less or simply didn’t ask at all for a raise or more opportunities or more responsibility, etc. This made me think of the times I have been faced with salary negotiation issues. In a way, I feel I am improving. For my last job, I was a bit more comfortable and I felt I have more grounds to negotiate, yet with my previous jobs I just took whatever they offered. And even with that I felt bad taking it, even though I was a hard and diligent worker. Why do women feel so guilty when asking for money??? Is it something embedded in our brains from the ideals of the 1950s when women were solely dependent on their husbands??? What is it that makes us so scared???
The other point that caught my eye was that when entering negotiations and if the woman was direct and negotiated accordingly, she was in danger of being viewed as a “bitch”. Which in turn the woman will sense that and scale down the negotiations, resulting in less money. This made me think of that wonderful movie that I have quoted many times before “The Devil Wears Prada”. In it Miranda, the head editor of Runway magazine, is shrewd and conniving and gets what she wants. But if you have seen the movie, she is regarded as the biggest bitch of all. Yet, Andy, her assistant, explains (while having dinner in Paris) that if she were a man it would not be the same. And I would agree. How many men do all of us know who are powerful and wealthy? Now out of those men, who are fun loving and just extremely compassionate souls (especially in the work force)??? I would be so bold as to say very few…The truth is that in business if you want to get ahead you need to make cut throat choices. Those choices when made by men are accepted by society, but when made by women they are viewed in a negative manner.
So what is a damsel in distress supposed to do…well, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t…so make your choice…