Finally! An actual unique topic I feel compelled to talk about in a public space, women and money/negotiations/power. I’ve had two very different experiences recently during job interviews related to salary and how open/comfortable the other party was to discussing money. In the first situation, I was talking with a male interviewer telling me “don’t lowball yourself, you are worth so much more money than what you’re asking” and then subsequently 2) a female interviewer becoming very uncomfortable when I started with a dollar amount in the same vicinity and essentially pushing back on me for “asking too much.”
It’s not that it breaks down to men being more generous than women, but that the “be nice” rule women tend to be socialized under is still in play and can have a negative impact on money/salaries. It’s supposedly “not nice” to talk about money, to actually articulate what your work/experience is worth in dollar amounts, and to try and negotiate. All my life experience is anecdotal, but when you have men in job interviews telling you they’re going to pay you more than what you quote, versus having women get really uncomfortable or say “that’s above what we were planning on spending,” there’s got to be some gender issues in play when it comes to money. Plus there’s my experiences of being a Project Manager and having one of the managers in that situation telling me that I wasn’t being a “nice girl,” when I was essentially keeping a vendor from ripping her off. Or some of the freak-outs I’ve seen my own mother have about making large financial decisions. It’s like the “Girls Can’t Do Math” stereotype. They can, it’s just that there’s enough of a message that can creep into personal insecurities and gender socialization to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
After that second interview, I had a long conversation with another female friend and then made a random online comment that sparked a huge response from some other female friends. About wanting to be better at negotiating and changing their own confidence/relationship to salary and money. We came up with a pretty great list of resources, which my as-yet-to-be-figured out New Year’s Resolution is to study each one and learn from them.
Women Don’t Ask (h/t to my friend KT): “Women Don’t Ask is the first book to identify the dramatic difference between men and women in their propensity to negotiate for what they want. It tells women how to ask, and why they should.”
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office (h/t to my friend JB): “a unique set of behaviors – 101 in all – that women learn in girlhood that sabotage them as adults. Now, in this groundbreaking guide, she helps you eliminate these unconscious mistakes that could be holding you back – and offers invaluable coaching tips you can easily incorporate into your social and business skills.”
No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power This is a little Oprah-esque and I don’t agree with her statement that the only thing holding women back are ourselves, but it still has some good observations and recommendations and talks about ambivalence with power/assertion.
Above books all have author websites/blogs
Slate’s Negotiation Academy (h/t to my friend G)
She Negotiate: “We give women the tools and support to take responsiblity for closing their own personal wage and leadership gaps.”
Women 2.0: Geared towards entrepreneurs/start-ups, but still good advice
Metafilter Thread: How do you, as a woman, succeed in the “good ol’” boy’s club?
1. It’s a little discouraging trying to find websites about women and finance/money - a lot of suggestions either about frugality/saving money or Mommy related. Which isn’t to knock frugality or Moms, but it’s like the division of labor again by gender. I’m more interested (and there’s more potential for real social/political change) beyond pointers about coupons or the household budget.
2. How in the world does Penelope Trunk continue to get taken seriously as a credible writer on employment and women in the workplace? Is it just that Caitlyn Flanagan and Katie Roiphe are too busy pedding stereotypes about women in other sector of society, so that’s her particular niche? Actually TechCrunch carrying her articles about how women aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs because they might also want to have families is either an indicator of how things are still hard for women in the tech industry or the quality of writing in that publication.