Why Women Need To Be More Proactive In Negotiating Their Salary

If you fit in the category of the average American who’s recently snagged a job, then you probably haven’t negotiated your salary. How do I know this? Because I’m a mind-reader, and I work in a building of roughly 200 people.

In all seriousness, a recent survey by GlassDoor reveals that 52% of Americans accepted the first salary offer that they were given, without negotiating cost.

More importantly, the survey found that 68% of women did not negotiate their earnings, with women between the ages of 45 and 54 settling for the fist offer they’d received.

This year’s Equal Pay Day highlighted the gender gap between women and men, with women making 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. With statistics constantly showing that women are earning less than men, could it be that negotiation tactics are the problem?

It may seem daunting to debate your salary with your future employer. Most people believe it will cost them the job, or give off the wrong impression.

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, financial consultant and author, talks with Refinery 29 regarding the burden of monetary discussions. Gerstley’s advice? Know your worth.

“Be open about sharing salary numbers and advocate for negotiating initial offers. It’s important and helpful to think of this as ‘doing it for the women who come after us,’ even if it’s a little awkward upfront. And remember: We negotiate every day (where we want to eat, what time to meet a friend, etc); practice getting comfortable asserting yourself.”

The GlassDoor study also shows that out of the 10% of Americans that did negotiate their salary, men were more than, “three times more successful than women in negotiating greater pay. Among U.S. employees, 15 percent of men reported their salary negotiations for their current or most recent job resulted in more money compared to just 4 percent of women.”

So, what’s the deal? Is the gender wage gap and lack of negotiation alive because negotiation seems too… Pushy? Apparently so.

A 2007 article from Entrepreneur features descriptions on why this is believed to be true.

And it’s safe to say, not much has changed since ’07.

“Women are perceived negatively if they adopt the aggressive tactics employed by some male negotiators. Men may expect women to be ‘ladylike’ in negotiations and avoid aggressive behavior, such as speaking in a loud voice or using foul language.”

So, in short, women are financially stunted due to the fear of not complying to a feminine disposition of traditional roles that our male-dominated work industry has established, and the only way to overcome this difficulty is by corresponding in the same manner that our male counterparts benefit from.

But if women do show a more aggressive conduct, they are met with a cavalier attitude that squanders any regard for their reputation that’s been established in the typical, paradigmatic work place.

Right. Anyway, how can we fix this?

Don’t Downplay What You’re Deserving Of

Humility is a wonderful quality, but it serves no purpose in the workplace. You know your qualifications and what skills you have to offer.

There’s a reason you got the interview or the job in the first place- you are the right fit. If you’re feeling like you deserve more, chances are you do. Don’t sell yourself short, you should fully understand both your self and financial worth.


Yes, really. Relax. If you’re walking into a conversation wanting to negotiate money of all things, you should be calm and focused.

If you’re antsy and stuttering, talking about what you want but sounding unsure about the fact that you deserve a higher pay, ask yourself this: If you were your employer, would you want to pay more?

Do Your Research

Plenty of resources exist to help women climb the corporate latter. Workshops like this one are around to help women work by building their reputation and gaining the respect they deserve.

Check out this list of negotiation self-help books and tactics.

Practice Makes Perfect

Work isn’t the only space where you have the right to negotiate. You can negotiate pricing most anywhere. Learn to negotiate in different areas of business.

Everything from discounts to rebates exist in the world. Gym memberships, hotel rooms, furniture, bills, are just a few things that we can negotiate.

Once, I walked into a boutique and fell in love with an overpriced plain black shirt. All I did was ask the boutique owner if she had a discount she could offer me, and she gave me 30% simply “for having a voice.”

I learned two things that day: 1. That boutique owner was dope. 2. I have a voice that I should really use more often.

The same goes for the work. Speak up. Your voice deserves to be heard.

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Julia Ismail

Julia likes Nickelback & is unapologetic about it.