Women Don't Ask

Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Women Don't Ask
    Book Description:

    When Linda Babcock asked why so many male graduate students were teaching their own courses and most female students were assigned as assistants, her dean said: "More men ask. The women just don't ask." It turns out that whether they want higher salaries or more help at home, women often find it hard to ask. Sometimes they don't know that change is possible--they don't know that they can ask. Sometimes they fear that asking may damage a relationship. And sometimes they don't ask because they've learned that society can react badly to women asserting their own needs and desires.

    By looking at the barriers holding women back and the social forces constraining them,Women Don't Askshows women how to reframe their interactions and more accurately evaluate their opportunities. It teaches them how to ask for what they want in ways that feel comfortable and possible, taking into account the impact of asking on their relationships. And it teaches all of us how to recognize the ways in which our institutions, child-rearing practices, and unspoken assumptions perpetuate inequalities--inequalities that are not only fundamentally unfair but also inefficient and economically unsound.

    With women's progress toward full economic and social equality stalled, women's lives becoming increasingly complex, and the structures of businesses changing, the ability to negotiate is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Drawing on research in psychology, sociology, economics, and organizational behavior as well as dozens of interviews with men and women from all walks of life,Women Don't Askis the first book to identify the dramatic difference between men and women in their propensity to negotiate for what they want. It tells women how to ask, and why they should.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2569-1
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE: Why Negotiation, and Why Now?
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Women Don’t Ask
    (pp. 1-16)

    A few years ago, when Linda was serving as the director of the Ph.D. program at her school, a delegation of women graduate students came to her office. Many of the male graduate students were teaching courses of their own, the women explained, while most of the female graduate students had been assigned to work as teaching assistants to regular faculty. Linda agreed that this didn’t sound fair, and that afternoon she asked the associate dean who handled teaching assignments about the women’s complaint. She received a simple answer: “I try to find teaching opportunities for any student who approaches...

  5. 1 Opportunity Doesn’t Always Knock
    (pp. 17-40)

    Heather, 34, was the pastor at a struggling urban church in the Boston area. Heather was also an officer of her denomination’s local association council—a group of pastors from around the region that ordains ministers, reviews clergy on disciplinary charges, and helps churches find pastors. At a meeting of the council, another pastor, a man, asked the council to extend the support it had been giving him for the past three years. Heather was unfamiliar with this man’s situation and sat up to listen. It turned out that this male pastor had worked for many years at a prosperous...

  6. 2 A Price Higher than Rubies
    (pp. 41-61)

    One of Linda’s graduate students—a young woman who had taken her negotiation class—visited Linda in her office to share some good news. The student had just accepted a job offer from a great company and couldn’t wait to begin her new career. When Linda asked how the negotiations had gone, the student seemed surprised. Her new employer had offered her so much more than she’d expected, it hadn’t occurred to her to negotiate. She simply accepted what she was offered.

    This story points out an obvious truth: Before we decide to negotiate for something we must first be...

  7. 3 Nice Girls Don’t Ask
    (pp. 62-84)

    The research we presented in the last chapter suggests that women’s low sense of personal entitlement—uncertainty about what their work is worth or how much they deserve to get for what they do—often deters them from asking for more than they already have. But what causes this depressed sense of entitlement? Why does the average woman have more trouble than the average man believing that she deserves more than she’s been given? And why is she less comfortable asking for changes that would improve her working conditions, enhance her job satisfaction, or help her run her household more...

  8. 4 Scaring the Boys
    (pp. 85-111)

    In the late 1990s, Jean Hollands, founder of an executive coaching firm in California called the Growth and Leadership Center, recognized a new need in her field: Someone had to teach tough, capable women in business to tone down their act. Women with enormous passion for their jobs and little tolerance for incompetence were intimidating their subordinates, coworkers, and even their bosses. As a result, these women’s careers were stalling. A “tough” personal style, often an advantage for men in business, had emerged as a liability for ambitious women.¹

    In response, Jean Hollands started the “Bully Broads” program, which charges...

  9. 5 Fear of Asking
    (pp. 112-129)

    Catherine, a 43-year-old lawyer from Kansas City, had worked in the public sector for most of her career. She never made much money and after almost two decades of public service she decided to switch to the private sector. Although she anticipated a large boost in her earnings, she took the precaution of consulting Linda—a friend from college—before embarking on her search. With Linda’s help, she researched what comparable people in comparable jobs were making, identified the salary she should be able to get, and practiced negotiation tactics. She soon found a job she liked, but the offer...

  10. 6 Low Goals and Safe Targets
    (pp. 130-147)

    Men acquire more economic resources than women—they earn higher salaries, own more property, boast bigger stock portfolios, and leave behind larger estates when they die. Women also fare badly when it comes to noneconomic resources, such as leisure time. One study shows, for example, that even when both spouses work full-time, a huge percentage of women do most of the housework and childcare, leaving them little time for themselves.¹ Although we can point to deep historical and sociological reasons for women coming up short both economically and otherwise, we’re convinced that negotiation also plays a critical part in this...

  11. 7 Just So Much and No More
    (pp. 148-163)

    Negotiation never takes place in a vacuum. Everything from where a negotiation takes place (the business world, the political arena, the commercial world, the home), the issue or issues at stake (a price, a vote, who will do the dishes) and the roles, status, and relationships of the parties negotiating (a boss, a business client, a salesperson, a spouse) can influence both the tone and outcome of a negotiation. By now it will come as no surprise that gender norms also influence how most negotiations unfold. This chapter looks at how certain situations can prevent women from getting more of...

  12. 8 The Female Advantage
    (pp. 164-179)

    Jeremy, 28, a former naval officer who now works as a business analyst for a software firm, described a situation in which he was traveling abroad and spent an hour negotiating for a rug in a Turkish bazaar even though he had no interest in buying the rug. He was negotiating just for the fun of it. Although this story sounds preposterous to many women (and some men), Jeremy explained that he simply enjoys negotiating—enough to waste an hour negotiating for its own sake. “I like the gaming,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a game.” David, the...

  13. EPILOGUE: Negotiating at Home
    (pp. 180-186)

    For much of this book, we’ve talked about negotiating in terms of the workplace—how women can get to do the work they want to do, see that their work is fairly evaluated, make sure they’re paid what they’re worth, and proceed as high into the upper levels of their professions as their talent and ambition will take them. We’ve focused on workplace negotiations not because they’re inherently more important than negotiations in other realms, but because most of the existing research about negotiation looks at workplace situations. We just don’t know very much about how the factors that constrain...

    (pp. 187-188)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 189-200)
    (pp. 201-216)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 217-223)