Studies Say Women Don’t Succeed At Professional Negotiations Because Their Assertiveness Is Intimidating
Contrary to what a recent study about women falling short on negotiations suggests, I am of the belief that we women are perhaps the greatest negotiators of all times. And those who have a conflicting opinion could accompany us to a fruit vendor or a flea market to find us in action. However, when speaking about it in strictly professional terms, we can’t deny the very apparent gender pay disparity that exists in the society. And turns out, women’s ability to negotiate might be a strong contributing factor in the same.
While a lot of workshops and training programmes are being set up to train women into becoming more convincing and strong negotiators, we have reason to believe that the problem about gender pay gap is not because women can’t negotiate. Studies suggest that there are two pretty telling reasons for women earning less than their male counterparts, one of which can be their unambitious nature that makes them want less. And the other is touted to be their very ambitious and assertive nature, that may come off as aggressive.
In a research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, it is being suggested that backlash against women who behave more assertively and know what they want, may be the bigger issue. After conducting close to 1200 negotiating exercises, it was come to conclusion that gender bias came mostly when a female negotiator had a strong, unfaltering alternative. A fact that we take as both, a compliment and an insult.
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— aaron fletcher (@fletchman007) January 21, 2021
They researchers wrote, “Possessing a strong alternative might give women a justification for setting more ambitious targets, behaving more assertively, and claiming more value than they otherwise would.” Talking about ways to address this backlash that women face, in coming across as more confident, Lead author of the study and Dartmouth business professor Jennifer Dannals says, “Most of the people are not going into these negotiations thinking explicitly, ‘I really hate when women are more assertive.’”
Instead, it is suggested that the backlash is a result of the unconscious bias that occurs due to people’s expectations about how it’s appropriate for men and women to behave. The society has been conditioned to view women as weak and timid, especially in front of men. So when they actually ask for what they deserve, panelists are taken aback with their audacity.
Ultimately, the idea therefore is not simply to train women to be more upfront and ask for more, but also to create an environment where such negotiations by women are not unappreciated and taken just as seriously. After all, they, too, must get what they deserve and have earned, so don’t be surprised when we come asking for more!
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