Is there something in our genetics that leads women to undervalue themselves financially?
Boys and girls are also given different messages at a young age. These messages can set the women on a pathway to believing they aren’t worth as much in the market place – that, “we aren’t good enough at what we do so we shouldn’t expect to earn as much as male counterparts.”
In her book, Money Can Buy You Happiness, Dr Patty Ann Tublin lists 10 reasons why women don’t get paid what they’re worth. Her list is about women in paid employment, but it’s just as relevant for women in business who don’t charge enough for their services.
The 10 reasons women don’t get paid what we’re worth
1. “They won’t like me anymore”
Being liked is very important to women in the workplace. Research shows when a man and a woman asked for a raise using the exact same script, both got the raise. But employers gave some very interesting feedback: they liked the style the man used, but didn’t like the same style when coming from a woman. This can have serious consequences for the woman’s career.
2. “I don’t want them to think I’m being greedy”
Men are far less likely to think this way. If it’s what you’re worth, then it’s reasonable. It’s justifiable. It’s your right! It’s not greed.
3. “What if they say no?”
Women tend to take the word no personally. Men, on the other hand, can differentiate between the business and the personal. A woman’s fear of rejection can hold her back in the ‘getting paid what you’re worth’ stakes.
4. “I don’t want to come across as being too pushy or aggressive”
We worry that asking for more money will damage our image at work and unfortunately research backs this up. If a woman doesn’t negotiate correctly, she will be seen as aggressive and pushy and therefore disliked.
5. The ‘good girl’ syndrome
We don’t want to step out of line. We want to help everyone and make life easier for those around us. Asking for a raise can run counter to this if the conversation becomes heated. You’re also breaching the ‘good girl’ social norm by asking for a raise. According to that norm, women aren’t supposed to ask for anything.
6. “I’ll just wait until they offer me a raise”
Unfortunately, this passive option rarely results in an offer being forthcoming.
7. “If I do excellent work I’ll get noticed.”
We are raised to believe that if we keep our heads down and behave ourselves we’ll get what we deserve. So, we sit back and wait only to find that someone less qualified who has the gumption to speak up for themselves gets the position we’re eyeing up.
8. “I’d love more money, but I’m not sure my work/position is worth it”
This is a self-esteem issue. We don’t feel worthy of more money.
9. “I’m not good at negotiating for more money”
Generally, women are great negotiators, just not when it comes to representing ourselves. That comes back to conflict avoidance and not wanting to make a fuss. But if it comes to our team, or our family, we go in boots and all!
10. Women just don’t ask!
Everything in this list explains what gets in the way (both internal and external) of asking to be paid what we’re worth. The outcome of all that? We don’t ask, so we don’t get.
So, what can you do about it?
Our next blog gives you the tools to negotiate your worth.