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01 December 2011


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Jennifer Fitz

I'm a little encouraged? Because every time I see the advice "women need to negotiate more!" I think:

a) I hate negotiating


b) People will think I'm a jerk.

[And actually: I think people who try to press hard for advantages from me, are jerks. Either you want what is fair, or I'm going to avoid doing business with you, ever, if I can possibly help it.]

But that's all I know.


This is fascinating. As someone who recently discovered she is not at the same pay level as her male counterparts, I find it particularly enlightening. The overwhelming advice from male colleagues is I won't get anything unless I ask. I haven't been able to articulate why I haven't negotiated before, but I think part of it is that I want my value to be recognized without having to ask for it. I plan to push myself in this area and will be interested to watch for the response. I'm in a primarily male dominated field and for the first time ever, I report to a woman so that will be an interesting study as well.


This is what makes me growl when (conservative) people make sweeping statements about women being paid less "because they choose to work fewer hours." Fascinating.


Mandamum, I don't think I've ever heard anyone seriously make a statement like that, in such a simplified form.

Most of the time, the argument reflects the reality that choosing to work fewer hours over the course of one's career (partly through career choice, partly through career-ladder choice, partly through hourly choices) tends to lower one's pay, and averaged over all men and all women, that's what we see. (Defining "work" as "work for pay," here, of course. Mostly it's a matter of choosing unpaid work over some of the paid work.)

But maybe we are thinking of different arguments?


Oh this is fascinating.


I'll have to look up who was talking to Kresta (in the Afternoon, on Ave Maria Radio) who said that--as I recall the discussion, she meant not only what you said, but also this person vs that person in the same position, the woman will work less and therefore will (and should) be paid less. It might be Suzanne Venker, talking about her book, "The Flip Side of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know - and Men Can't Say"?


Here's what I learned when I was a VP at an investment bank on Wall Street way back in the day: every job has a salary range and it is up to the applicant, whatever gender they may be, to get the highest salary in the range. When I hired people I always offered the lowest number in the range, knowing that we would have to give more if the applicant asked for it. Nine out of ten times the guy would ask for more, but we never turned it down. So if a girl asked for it, we would give it to her too. It wasn't a gender thing at all. It was there for the taking.


Mandamum -- Oh, you are talking about *prejudging an individual,* based on gender classification alone, as to what salary they are worth paying. Predicting that women will work less and therefore predeciding that a woman hired into a certain job should be offered a lower salary.

Well, of course, that is not only wrong but illegal. I don't have any idea how prevalent that view is.

What I'm talking about is a rational explanation for disparity in real wages as they exist, one that does not require active discrimination to explain it.

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