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  • One Woman’s Advice To Another: It’s Always Time To Speak Your Mind

    The answer — or at least part of it, according to several speakers at the conference — is that women often don’t get what they want because they simply don’t ask for it. Studies reveal that women don’t negotiate for salaries as often as their male counterparts, they don’t network as effectively and they aren’t as skilled in finding or using the essential relationships that would help them successfully climb the corporate ladder. In short, despite more than a century of speaking out, many women in business today still haven’t learned to speak up.

    Upstart: Women’s Business

    Less than 100 years ago, in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. It would take

    Courtesy: Shock/PhotoXpress

    several more decades for women to find their way into corporate America. Today, not only do women have a seat at the conference room table, but some sit at the head. Women have also caught up in terms of education: For every two men who received a college degree in 2010, three women achieved the same milestone.

    Yet these “gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity,” a report from the White House Council on Women and Girls said in March. “At all levels of education, women earned about 75% of what their male counterparts earned in 2009.” In addition, in the corporate world, most women are still not rising all the way to the top. According to a recent study from Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit that works to promote opportunities for women in business, only 2.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and women make up less than 15% of corporate officers.

    “What’s holding us back?” asked a speaker at the recent Wharton Women in Business Alumnae Conference 2011. “The opportunity is there.”

    The answer — or at least part of it, according to several speakers at the conference — is that women often don’t get what they want because they simply don’t ask for it. Studies reveal that women don’t negotiate for salaries as often as their male counterparts, they don’t network as effectively and they aren’t as skilled in finding or using the essential relationships that would help them successfully climb the corporate ladder. In short, despite more than a century of speaking out, many women in business today still haven’t learned to speak up.

    “Women don’t ask,” stated Priya G. Trauber, a keynote presenter at the conference, who touched off a day-long discussion about how women could better make their voices heard. “We don’t ask people to cultivate us and we don’t make ourselves available to be cultivated.” Trauber’s views come from her work as an executive director at Morgan Stanley, where she is responsible for the bank’s strategy to attract, retain and develop women throughout all areas of the company. “We have to recognize what our male counterparts have known for years — that relationships matter, asking matters, and you have to make people see you.”

    Trauber cited some studies that shed light on the possible reasons for the disparities. Linda Babcock, who co-authored a book with Sara Laschever called Women Don’t Ask, did a study of starting salaries of men and women coming out of graduate school programs. She found that male students earned about $4,000, or 7.6%, more than the average woman. “But when she dug deeper to figure out why this was happening, it was because only 7% of female students had negotiated a salary, whereas 57% of men had negotiated a salary,” Trauber said.

    The book concluded that girls are taught to be others-focused, that women settle for the salary they need rather than fighting for the amount that they are worth, and that women often struggle between being too assertive and not being assertive enough. The book also said that women don’t ask for what they want or feel they deserve because they are fearful they won’t be liked, whereas men perceive asking as a fun and exciting game of strategy with little downside.

    Read More:

    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2746

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Women's Business

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