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Negotiation Myths Women Should Know

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Negotiation Myths Women Should Know

Kathryn Valentine shares an article that identifies three negotiation myths still harming women’s careers.

We work with professional women all the time on their career negotiations: training them, advising their employers, and studying their successes and pitfalls. One of us (Kathryn) is a negotiation coach and trainer and the other (Hannah) is a scholar and educator. Over and over again, we hear three negotiation myths that we fear are hampering women’s potential to seize opportunities and overcome barriers in their careers. As organizations redefine the future of work, it’s time to dispel these myths about negotiation so leaders can make their employee negotiations more equitable.

Myth #1: Men Negotiate and Women Don’t

The truth is that both men and women have a hard time negotiating for resources that are counter-stereotypical for them, particularly because they are more likely to encounter resistance for doing so. Following traditional gender roles (that are in many respects outdated), men are the breadwinners and women the caregivers, and these stereotypes spill over into the workplace. As a result, women tend to encounter more challenges than men when negotiating for higher pay, and men more challenges than women when seeking access to family-friendly work practices. Moreover, men from historically marginalized groups also face challenges negotiating their pay.

In studies examining what managers and professionals negotiate in their career, both men and women overwhelmingly recounted negotiating their roles — and with about equal frequency. But case examples focused on pay or workload showed men recounting more job-offer negotiations and women recounting negotiating more around work and family. (If negotiation scholars had focused first on how people access family-friendly work practices, they might have concluded that men don’t negotiate at all!)

For gender equality, it’s critically important that women have as much potential to negotiate their pay as men, and men as much potential to access family-friendly work practices as women.

Key points include:

  • Fearing social backlash

  • Strategies women can use

  • How women can advocate for themselves

Read the full article, 3 Negotiation Myths Still Harming Women’s Careers, on HBR.org.