The New York Times recently published a great article called A Toolkit for Women Seeking a Raise. The article combines the explanation of the challenges women face in negotiating raises:
“We have found that if a man and a woman both attempt to negotiate for higher pay, people find a women who does this, compared to one who does not, significantly less attractive,” said Hannah Riley Bowles, an associate professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who has conducted numerous studies on gender, negotiation and leadership. “Whereas with the guy, it doesn’t seem to matter.”
WITH what to do about it:
“So what’s a woman to do if she feels her work merits a raise? A new study concludes that women need to take a different approach than men. Women, it suggests, should frame their requests in more nuanced ways to avoid undermining their relationship with their boss.”
The article’s approach mirrors my own advice on this topic and others at the heart of my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood To Get the Lives We Want Today. If mothers become consciously aware of the outdated stereotypes about mothers, fathers, money and work still running amuck, they have a better chance of navigating situations effectively.
Among the list of specific tips, I was glad to see that one tip “Negotiate at Home” acknowledges that none of this happens in a vacuum and that couples need to negotiate family work so that the woman doesn’t end up shouldering the bulk of it by default.
In fact, my only quibble with the article is this line.
“Part of the pay gap can be easily explained away. Women are more likely to leave the work force to care for children, for example, so they end up with fewer years of experience.”
While true, I’d hate for us to gloss over this reality as simply “easily explained away.” Jobs are still structured for a 1950’s family model where the husband works a full-time job that provides for his whole family and wife cares for children so he never has to take any time off. The structure itself is a major part of the pay gap problem for women that does need to be addressed head on to make jobs and workplaces better fit today’s families.
Still, this is definitely a toolkit worth picking up for those of us working on Remodeling Motherhood.
For more on the wage gap and money issues: