At a South by Southwest Interactive panel geared toward both women making their way into the workplace and seasoned female professionals, the talk opened up with a statistic echoed in gender equality discussions.
“In 2014, full-time working women made 79 percent of what men were paid for equal work.”
And it’s a statistic that many female professionals believe stems from implicit bias and institutional bias. The day before the talk entitled “How to Ask for Money: Know Your Worth, Get Paid,” a talk centered around a report on gender bias in the workplace unfolded before a packed auditorium.
At that particular talk, the panelists discussed the double standard many women face: They are told they are either too aggressive or too quiet. During the “How to Ask For Money” talk, the female executives said those looking to change the above statistic must be anything but quiet and push through the messages that say they can’t accomplish what they want.
According to the Harvard Business Review, men initiate negotiations about four times more often than women.
“Before giving someone an offer, I say to myself, ‘Well, I’m going to offer this, but I’m really willing to pay this,’” said Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls CODE. “Oftentimes women don’t negotiate, and it bothers me so much. And the men we offer jobs to almost always know to negotiate.”
One of the panelists, Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringelmann, said women excel in interviews with merit-based screening processes such as tests. During interview questions, the panelists said, men tend to exaggerate their qualities while women are more realistic, which oftentimes reflects negatively on them.
Once women do receive that job offer – or decide they want a pay raise within their company – founder of Julep Beauty Inc. Jane Park urges them to look toward an unlikely group of people for inspiration.
“A while back I went to a negotiating class. And someone compared good negotiating to how kids negotiate bed time,” Park said. “They’re not bad people. They just know what they want.”
During bed time negotiation, Park said kids never shut a conversation down, never offer an ultimatum, they keep the conversation going and they keep it positive.
“You’re trouble-shooting something together to set up long-term success,” Park said. “A contract is a safe space where you know what the rules are. What I don’t want in my employees is for them to take on a position that isn’t going to set them up for success.”
And what’s the worst that can happen if they are rejected? Just that: Rejection.
“It’s much better to be rejected by the world than to be rejected by yourself,” Park said.