Employers Owe Women Who Negotiate

We all know the story: Women's salaries aren't as high as men's because women don't negotiate for their salaries. These stories often take great pains to explain why it's not a sexist assumption, that there's data to back this supposition up. There's just one problem with that: It assumes women in general are at fault.

Studies show that that's not true. Women ask for raises, bonuses, and better starting salaries at a marginally higher rate than men. They just don't receive them at equivalent rates.

Career blogger Otegha Uwagba has written an excellent essay on the matter for The Cut's Get That Money column. This myth about women as poor negotiators "reveal[s] an uncomfortable truth about society's propensity to assign blame to women for situations outside their control," she writes. "By buying into the 'women don't ask' narrative, employers who should be doing more to rectify gender pay gaps in their own organizations get to ignore their role in fostering said gaps, and pass the buck back onto us."

Uwagba provides study after study to show why this is true. The evidence is out in the open, which means businesses need to develop systems that can accommodate and correct this tendency. One option in certain sectors may be to seek out unionization, while others may be able to change corporate guidelines from within. No matter what, it's a long-overdue conversation. The sooner it comes to C-suites and cubicle farms alike, the sooner all genders can enjoy the true fruits of their labor.