Are women to blame that they still make about 20 cents less on the dollar than men?
I attended the Wharton Economic Summit yesterday in Philadelphia and I sat in on a session titled “Striking the Right Balance: Women and Work in the New Millennium”, and one speaker dared to point the finger at women for the disparity between the pay of men and women.
At first I thought Shellye Archambeau, CEO of technology firm MetricStream Inc., was crazy when she suggested that it might be the ineptness of women in the salary-negotation department that is partly to blame, but the more she spoke the more she seemed to make sense.
As an executive for a host of big corporations, including IBM and Blockbuster, Shellye paid out raises to her subordinates. But it was the squeaky wheels that usually got most of the money. By the squeaky wheel, I mean the workers that knocked on her door and said “I need more money.” And the ones that did that most tended to be…MEN.
By the time she divvied up money for the rest of her crew, there wasn’t much left for the polite ladies. She estimated that over time, giving men 1 to 3 percent more in raises because they were pushy and asked for it, could end up creating double digit gaps between the pay of men and women.
So are we women pushovers when it comes to feathering our own nests?
Another member of the panel made a good point about how women are just not conditioned to negotiate.
Leslie Morgan Steiner, who writes an online column for working mothers called On Balance, says when she asks girl babysitters how much money they want they usually say “pay me what you think is reasonable.”
That’s insane girls. You need to ask for what you think is reasonble, we all do!