A 2011 Catalyst Study showed that companies with more women in leadership positions perform better. Fortune 500 firms that have the most female board members outperform those with the least by 26%. So, why aren’t more women in high-level leadership positions? It may be that the way men and women are communicating in the workplace leads to misunderstandings. It is also possible that the key factor in improving the wage gap between females and males comes down to the fact that men tend to negotiate what they are paid and women tend to accept what is offered to them.
In a study done by economics professor Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University of 78 masters students, she found that 12.5% of women negotiated for their starting salary, versus 52% of men. Following the math on that would mean that the women would have $1.5 million in lost incomes over their career. Add this to the fact that studies show that men are 4x more likely than women to ask for a raise and when woman do, they has for 30% less than men do.
Here’s a VIDEO from Linda Babcock’s Book, Women Don’t Ask. (10 min)
In an article written by Joanne Lipman, the former deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, Women at Work: A Guide for Men, she says the point isn’t to blame men, rather to demystify women. I loved this article! I did lots of research for today which is International Women’s Day and thought this one was by far the one that could have the most impact on the leaders I train, coach, and who read this article most Sunday nights.
Here’s the main points from the article that I think you might find the most helpful:
1. She’s ready for a promotion – she just doesn’t know it yet.
In an internal Hewlett-Packard study they found that men apply for a job when they consider themselves 60% qualified where a woman won’t apply or ask for one until she feels she is 100% qualified. Combine this with the previous statistic that Fortune 500 companies that have more female leaders on their board would tell you, guys, that you are going to need to reach out and potentially sell your best women on stepping into leadership positions. Women – STAND UP!
2. She’s pretty sure that you don’t respect her.
I really identified with this one! For women, when we walk into a room we have to prove we are qualified whereas our male counterparts have to prove they aren’t. Hey men. You may not have experienced this so you may not realize or be aware of what your female counterparts experience. How you can help yourself? Appreciate and recognize women for the specific behaviors or deliverables. Women – know that you are qualified and capable. Ask for what you need!
3. She deserves a raise.
Again, she won’t ask for it though. Women, do your research. Determine what the job you want pays and ask for more than that if you are qualified and experienced. It’s not rude. It’s not impolite. Ask! From the research, men ask, they get, which may be one reason for the pay differential that women can affect. Practice asking.
Additional points made in the article are that women can be put-off by being referred to as “girls” and women tend to apologize WAY more than men do. Emotions are normal. Just because someone might get a tear when receiving feedback doesn’t mean you should not give it. Especially when the feedback could be helpful to their advancement and development.
Today is International Women’s Day. In 1908, 15,000 women marked through New York demanding shorter work hours, better pay and voting rights.
Let’s raise our self-esteem and our confidence levels this week! Tell a woman you know how fabulous she is. Be specific. Let her know that she matters to you and your organization. Empowering her will definitely add to your people equity account. Women – celebrate something, RIGHT NOW, about you!
Leadership EXERCISE for this week that won’t have you breaking a sweat:
Observe yours and others behaviors when it comes to asking for what you or they need. Is each person on your team contributing to the discussion? Before you break from your next meeting, do a round (ask each person individually) what might be missing or what would success look like for each participant in regard to the project or change you are working on. You could even have the team watch the above mentioned video with the author of the book Woman Don’t Ask and have team members discuss their viewpoints on what they learn and what they have experienced in your organization and on your team.
Consider whether you seek those best qualified for a position or wait for them to “go after it”. Could a change in that approach net you a few more fabulous leaders in the future?
Additional references for this article include: