Posts Tagged ‘WAM 2008’
Commenting on this post, “v” has made a good point about one source of the gender wage gap:
Some say it happens at the negotiation stage. Men are more likely to ask for raises or higher salaries when hired or changing jobs. This trait is attributed mostly to gender and could drive the results.
As it happens, there has been research done on women and negotiation. By now something of a feminist proverb, “women don’t ask” is actually the title of a book from a few years back by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever. (Babcock is an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon’s school of management and public policy. The two released a sequel of sorts in February.)
Women Don’t Ask seems to be marketed as self help, but is backed up by Babcock’s academic research. Here’s a sample, from the book’s site:
By not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary.
If the problem is that we don’t ask, then learning to ask for more should help close the gap, right? Not so fast. Writing in the Harvard Business Review (gated), Babcock herself covers the downside of asking for more:
…many companies’ cultures penalize women when they do ask – further discouraging them from doing so. Women who assertively pursue their own ambitions and promote their own interests may be labelled as bitchy or pushy.
There is necessarily less quantitative research backing up this point, so sprinkle salt to your taste. Still, it all goes back to yesterday’s post. Women can’t address the wage gap on our own.
I spent a few minutes at WAM chatting with one of the presenters about fathers and feminism. We were talking about the importance of men in the women’s movement generally, and how fathering daughters seems to bring even unlikely men around on women’s issues.
Then I came home and found this study on voting patterns in the US Senate from the March 2008 American Economic Review:
…parenting an additional female child increases a representative’s propensity to vote liberally on women’s issues, particularly reproductive rights.
It’s nice when numbers come along to back up your intuition. But I’m curious about the mechanism. Do fathers with daughters gain more respect for women’s autonomy? Or is it more calculating than that? (Everyone wants their children to get ahead.) Is there a difference?
I have been wanting to start this site for some time, but it got a needed kick start at Women, Action and the Media, a conference in Cambridge, MA last weekend. It was fantastic – I picked up some new skills, met some new people, and came home full of words.
Journalism is a scary business to be in nowadays. So it’s nice, when all the young reporters that I work with are trying to land the internship that will fast-forward them to sucess, to meet people with interesting and meandering paths, people who ended up somewhere unexpected.
Anyway, I’m telling you this to explain the otherwise cryptic “WAM” tag which will be popping up a lot as I post about things I started thinking about last weekend.