No economic skill has as much riding on it as does negotiation.
~ Leigh Thompson, Northwestern University
This is especially true for women. Research shows that in simple negotiations—like a salary or a car negotiation—women do worse than men. Two things most women will negotiate several times in their lives!
1. The Hard Truth:
Negotiation is about an exchange of value, and historically women have not had their own economic value to exchange.
Plus, the idea of “negotiation” turns many women off—the models for negotiating appear too masculine, or aggressive. Research supports this; re-frame “negotiation” into “opportunities for asking” and women fare better.
2. The Good Truth:
Negotiation is a learnable skill, both art and science. The same research showed that when women are empowered with the skills and knowledge, they can negotiate results as good as, or better than, men.
Women tend to be inherently more adept at listening, empathizing with others; connecting and building relationships—all skills that are fundamental to negotiating effectively.
When women are empowered to see these “feminine” skills as valuable, they do better.
3. The Long Truth:
Negotiating is a way of life; standing up for what is important to you (including your ability to help others).
Fundamentally, negotiating is about asking for what you want, influencing others to cooperate with you and, as importantly, it’s about saying “no” to what you don’t want, and negotiating something better.
4. The Other Hard Truths:
The biggest challenge for women is negotiating for themselves—and surprisingly this includes high-level executive and professionals who negotiate for a living. Some barriers that cause this difference include messages about what a woman “should be” or can be; about money and who should make it, manage it and keep it. We have some work as a society to help change these expectations based on gender.
Here’s the critical factor that bottom-lines Leigh Thompson’s quote from the introduction: women have a longer-term economic and financial life span than men. Not only is a woman expected to live longer, but 60 is now the new 40 and many women are bearing and raising children later in life. Tolerating gender pay inequity and getting paid less than you are worth is not a viable strategy.
The good news is that women everywhere are waking up, and women in the public eye are taking their pay equity issues public.
More than ever, its time for women to ride their own white horses—take the reins and be a “Gallant Leader” in your own life!
Negotiate your best life; manage your own economic well-being. If you’ve ever been on a trail ride, you know the best thing about riding your own white horse is riding the trail with those you love!