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  • Writer's pictureSusan Otim-Neal

Negotiating The Wage Gap

Updated: May 2, 2021

Earlier this year, I gave a talk on the gender wage gap and shared startling statistics about the earning ratio of women compared to White men, broken down by gender and race. According to the American Association of University Women’s most recent report (Fall 2016), for every dollar being earned by a White male, by percentage, Asian American women earn 90%, White women earn 76%, African American women earn 62%, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander women earn 60%, American Indian and Alaska Native women earn 58% and Latina women earn 54%.  

Gender pay gap expert Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University discovered that women tend to negotiate far less frequently than their male counterparts, often face a social penalty for asking for the same things a man may ask for, and risk being perceived as aggressive or too pushy. How do we correct for this? In addition to changes organizations and companies must make (and are making) in their policies and processes, here are several things you can start doing now:

  1. Acknowledge and attend to emotions around negotiating (shame, guilt, anxiety)

  2. Overcome your initial hesitation, and actually ask for more

  3. Explain why your request for more is appropriate (based on experience and solid research), and in way that communicates that you value relationships at work

  4. Learn more about negotiations: read, take a class, get coaching and practice negotiating in small ways on a weekly basis  

  5. Build a strong network of support

Negotiation Challenge: Choose a small, emotionally insignificant thing that you would like to have this week (such as a discount), and actually ask for it. See it as an experiment, attempt to negotiate and see what happens.



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