1. Money
Susan M. Heathfield

Women Can Make More Money

By March 22, 2014

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Interested in women and money? I watch studies about women and their success in the workplace with great interest. Commencing when I worked at General Motors in the mid-80s, I was encouraged by my plant manager to study women and success at GM.

This was in the days when I could attend a week of meetings and never see another woman in attendance. (I left GM soon after and that is a story for another day.) But, my interest in women and money and women and success continues to this day.

The Washington Post featured a piece a few years ago that refutes some of the commonly held beliefs about women and salary negotiation: Salary, Gender, and the Social Cost of Haggling. Commonly, women are thought of as less aggressive than men and less likely to negotiate for more compensation. It turns out, salary negotiation by women is viewed less positively than salary negotiation by men.

Linda C. Babcock, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and Hannah Riley Bowles, who studies the psychology of organizations at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, "found that women's reluctance was based on an entirely reasonable and accurate view of how they were likely to be treated if they did. Both men and women were more likely to subtly penalize women who asked for more -- the perception was that women who asked for more were 'less nice'."

"In a final set of studies, Bowles's team had 367 volunteers play the role of job candidates and left it up to them to decide whether to ask for more money than they were offered. Women were less likely than men to negotiate when they believed they would be dealing with a man, but there was no significant difference between men and women when they thought a woman would be making the decision. The applicants, in other words, were accurately reading how males and females were likely to perceive them.

"'This isn't about fixing the women," Bowles said. 'It isn't about telling women, 'You need self-confidence or training.' They are responding to incentives within the social environment.'"

I wrote recently about how women hold themselves back in the workplace.

Other studies find different results, but do read this informative article that summarizes their studies. Unfortunately, women make less money than men, most of the time, and in addition to their well-founded hesitation about salary negotiation, these are additional reasons why women make less money than men.

Women in HR Make Less Money, Too

Interestingly, even women in HR, whom you'd think would know some of the ins and outs of salary negotiation, make less money than their male counterparts. Here are thoughts about what to negotiate in executive compensation, as an example.

Image Copyright Brandon Alms

How Women Can Make More Money

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