Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide introduces the societal barriers surrounding femininity that have caused a difference in the expectations between men and women. This difference has resulted because of the attitudes of women in both their professional and personal lives concerning their anxiety towards or unawareness of negotiations. In this article I will focus on the first four chapters of the book, in order to give a glimpse of the vital information that may be interesting to women who wish to obtain top positions in their careers.
Babcock and Laschever make a point to address the issues of the anxiety associated with asking questions so as to help women become aware of what they may encounter in the workplace as well as how to go about dealing with situations such as being looked down upon for being ‘too’ confident or seen as being totally incapable (concerning negotiation with a car salesmen, for example).
One argument discussed by the authors is the difference between men and women concerning the workplace. Women don’t ask as often as men because they do not expect any results from the asking and thus think it insignificant. This then leads to women thinking that if they deserved a salary raise or a promotion that they would be given it.
Another theme of the book is that women aim lower than men, therefore leading to them to miss out on gaining as much as men in terms of pay raises, promotions, or better work hours, for example. This relates with the argument that women are easily satisfied and thus will avoid negotiating further and will not earn as much as a man during a negotiation.
The question of women’s self-worth and confidence level is addressed throughout the book as being a major factor in their anxiety towards negotiating with others or even gaining the courage to ask for something they desire. It is viewed that women are very ‘other-oriented’ while men are very ‘self-oriented’. Obtaining close relationships with others leads women to generally care about other’s feelings more so than their own, leading to low self-esteem.
The important link here to women not asking as much as men is that low self-esteem leads to a lower sense of what you deserve. This in turn results in women feeling anxious and uncomfortable with asking or negotiating for what they want.
The latter provides a snapshot into Babcock and Laschever’s views towards why women seem to have more trouble asking for what they deserve than men.
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