A study by Emily Amanatullah, the Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Texas completed a research study that ask men and women to negotiate for themselves and on behalf of another. Her findings showed that when the women negotiated for themselves, they asked for an average of $7,000 less than the men, yet when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much money as the men.
Amanatalluh says this is because when women negotiate for themselves, it's not just about money it's about their image and reputation too. “Women worry that pushing for more money will damage their image”.
It's compounded when you look at the research by Babcock and Laschever which shows women hate negotiating! The research in their book Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, shows that 2.5 times more women than men said they feel "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiating.
Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women and when asked to pick metaphors for the process of negotiating, men picked "winning a ballgame" (they’re American, it would be the same as winning a rugby match) and a "wrestling match," (what is the Kiwi or Aussie equivalent of wrestling? Cricket? Surfing? Bowls?) while women picked "going to the dentist."
So that’s not good. Pretty sure dentist visits are at the bottom of the list of ‘ways to spend an hour of my life’. How do we get negotiating up from the depths of dentistry and up to the tolerable ‘fitness test at the gym’, or better yet, right up there with other areas you feel a sense of achievement like smashing a PB at the gym or your chosen sport, completing that assignment or work project on time, or hearing your little ones read a book on their own for the first time?
“Don’t bargain yourself down before you get to the table.”
- Carol Frohlinger
"I realized . . . that I could have really negotiated for much more....
but I didn't. Because I accepted,
'Oh, I want to tie in with
I should feel lucky
I have this job."
- Emma, social science researcher
(via Women Don't Ask)
It will be difficult and uncomfortable at first, just like any steps toward building competency is.
This is a skill that takes time to build competency in – practice makes perfect.