Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NPR: Teaching Negotiation Skills to Girls Could Close Gender Pay Gap

This morning, NPR has a story titled, 'Ask For A Raise? Most Women Hesitate'. It reports that in the face of a persistent gender pay gap, researchers and women's advocates are focusing on one little-discussed part of the problem: Women simply don't ask for more money.

There are many reasons why, despite widespread gains in the workplace, women still earn on average about 78 cents to a man's dollar. But the failure to negotiate higher pay is crucial. Research shows men are four times more likely than women to ask for a salary raise, and economist Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University says this has a snowball effect. Even a small pay boost will mean bigger annual raises and possibly bigger bonuses and it will carry over to a new employer, who is almost certain to ask: "What was your last salary?"

Among the many sobering facts and statistics included in the story, the conclusion is that Babcock has decided real change must start young. She's launched an effort to teach negotiating skills to girls and came up with this new twist on an old tradition: Girl Scouts can now carry out a series of 10 negotiations to earn a badge called "Win-Win." Negotiation is a great way for people to reach an agreement that makes everyone happy or better off. Instead of initiating an argument in which no one is a winner, she lists steps to learn about negotiation and how to ask for what you want.
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Can you think of times where negotiating has helped you succeed?