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  • Writer's pictureMarion Mays

Why women don’t ask

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

We’ve come a long way from the days of Mad Men secretaries and tea ladies. Women are more powerful, more assertive and more successful than they’ve ever been.

However, women still don’t seem to get raises as much as men. Why? In part it’s because we just don’t ask.

You may not be surprised to hear that men receive more promotions and have higher salaries than women. Men are also more likely to ask for a raise.

So why are women more likely to settle?

A major reason is the message that we receive from a young age.

Women are taught that humility and modesty are desirable feminine traits. Women are taught to be respectful, humble and kind. So, asking for more money seems like a complete 180 for many of us.

Meanwhile, men are taught they can ask for more, and men are taught that confidence and strength are means to success. So, men have few qualms about marching into their boss’ office and negotiating their pay because that’s what they’re taught to do. Negotiation is key

From over years in the finance and property sectors, I know that negotiation is key in closing pay - be it in employment, business, investment, buying a property, or haggling for that cute pair of peep toe heels.

But it’s natural that as women, we meet these kinds of actions with trepidation.

Well, fear not! Here are some strategies to make negotiations work for you:

1. Realise what you’re worth and don't settle for less

My most important lesson is that of self-worth. A woman who knows exactly what she is worth will not feel guilty in asking for just that. Know your value, know your unique attributes, know what you bring to the table, and you’ll know whether what your employer is offering is fair or whether to fight for more.

I understand the immediate feeling of doubt about requesting a raise. Am I underqualified? Have I crossed a line? Will I be laughed away? Honestly ladies, your employer will respect you more for speaking up for what you want. As long as you remain within reason, you’re perfectly within your rights. Never underestimate the quality you bring!

2. Reassure your employer of your values and why they hired you in the first place.

As regular as clockwork, you must remind them why you matter, and that having you around will benefit the company. Discuss with them that you are a valuable asset, not just an employee.

3. Don’t just negotiate money, negotiate for a new role.

Show your employers a new light, that you are taking initiative and you’re prepared to challenge yourself and raise the bar. Sometimes, the best method in securing a higher pay is proving to them you’re worth every bit of it.

4. Practise, Practise, Practise

Remember your first interview for a job, the countless hours rehearsing your unique selling point, the butterflies and the sweaty palms when you go to shake your potential employer’s hand for the first time. Then, second time around, you got better at it. That’s how you can improve your negotiation tactics. Practice makes perfect. It also makes you more confident and ready to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.

Ladies, it’s time we stop holding back, and time we take the plunge! Sometimes, the only way to take that leap is to initiate it yourself. Stop waiting for your employer to realise your worth, and instead sing it loud and proud!


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