Why is it that women don’t negotiate?
This is a topic that’s always fascinated me, because well – I’m a woman. And as a sociology major and the youngest of four girls in a progressive family – I’ve grown up all too familiar with the harsh reality of concepts like the glass ceiling, the pay gap, and the second shift.
But I’m also an entrepreneur.
A senior leader.
A board member.
And yet? I hate negotiating for myself just as much as the next person.
Sometimes I think it’s just me and my own anxieties.
But I’m also all too familiar with being the marginalized voice as the only female in the room. And so I know it’s more than that.
I was one of only 7 women in an MBA class of 75. I was also the only female voice on a corporate Senior Leadership Team for nearly 2 years. I’m also the only woman on my Board. So I know what it’s like to have to shout to be heard; to have to stand up for my viewpoint twice as hard as the next guy; and to be labeled as aggressive for fighting back when a man re-packages my words into an idea that he claims as his own.
So guess what? I’m angry.
I’m angry when I hear that women are still earning 13% less than men in Canada. And even angrier when I hear that it’s 31.4% globally.
I’ve earned my stripes. I’ve paid my dues. And I know that I deserve to be earning just as much, if not more, than the average male. And yet, I’m probably not.
A huge part of that is because there’s some unconscious bias about my capabilities being less than those of a man – by other men, by other women too, and sometimes even by myself.
And another part of that is because I don’t ask. Because I’ve been taught that it’s not ok to fight for myself. Not just with my pay – but in so many areas as well. Because an aggressive woman doesn’t have control of her emotions. Because a woman who expects too much is greedy. Because because because…
So is there any surprise when a woman hesitates to ask for more money when she’s hired? Or to say that the annual raise being offered to her is not reflective of her work? The research shows time and time again that women work harder, and work longer hours, yet earn less. Because if we bring that up, we are just another irrational woman.
So you’re damn well sure I’m going to negotiate for myself. And for all those women I’ve hired and will continue to hire in the future? You’re damn well right that I’m going to make you negotiate too!
Because I need you to fight for yourself. To know your worth. And to practice.
And in return, I will welcome your rage, your emotions, your fight. Because I want you to own it. I want you to demand what you deserve. I want you to be the biggest damn voice in the room. Because your ideas are everything. And your ideas are valid. And I want to hear them.