From the ForbesWoman Community
The ForbesWoman Community discusses whether a woman's self-esteem plays a role in her salary negotiations and promotions.
Since becoming a CEO, Elizabeth Miles, a co-founder and chief executive of Iken Business Ltd., a legal software company based in Bristol, U.K., has been "shocked to find that (on average) women employees are grateful for pay increases, whereas men expect and demand more. It's as if women can feel less deserving."
Stacey A. Gordon, an entrepreneur and president of the Los Angeles Professional Chapter of the Nat ional Association of Women MBAs, replies to Miles: "The members of the NAWMBA board were just discussing this. We find that personal value is affected by external value. Therefore, it's not so much a self-esteem issue as it is the perception of a woman's value in the workplace."
"I know my personal value, but when the person with the power to promote/hire me perceives my value to be less-than because of their own values and ideas about me or women in general, it may cause me to ask for less than what I'm worth because I don't want to price myself out of a good job. When that happens repeatedly, it may eventually affect self-esteem."
A thoughtful response, but Miles objects: But I am a woman, and I know the value of the women who work in my business. I certainly don't perceive women to be less-than, and it still happens."
"The main point I am making is that this appears to come from within the women employees themselves. This is my experience as CEO of a software house that employs both men and women. I myself have sat on the other side of the fence and have been grateful for advancement in salary, status etc. Now that I am in charge, I have to watch myself as employer because men put far more pressure on me re advancement than women do (on average), and I take on an ethical position to make sure that I take fair decisions despite this."
"One issue that seems to me at play here is women's sense of their own worth and entitlement. Any feelings they have about that don't come from me as their current boss I am sure, because I have sat where they sit now, and I remember those feelings myself."The Top-Paying Jobs For Women
Suhasini Sakhare, business unit head at Zeta InteLex, a legal process outsourcing unit based in Nagpur , India , isn't shy about pointing out that while women do accept unfair treatment, they continue to do their best. And while there is no bottom line incentive not to hire the most skilled workers at the cheapest price, Sakhare opines that it does reveal that that system is at odds with "the basic principles of human creativity."
Sherrin Ross Ingram, an attorney in the greater Chicago area and CEO of the International Center for Strategic Planning, writes: "Acceptance of known differences in pay is absolutely an issue of self-esteem and self-worth. When anyone knowingly accepts a lower pay when all else is "equal" (same work, same responsibilities, same title/level, etc.), it's a clear statement that they don't believe they can do better somewhere else ... either with another company or on their own. In other words, the person doesn't know or believe in the value they provide or believe in their ability to command that their value be reflected in what they earn."
Elena Alexseeva, CEO of PhotoHand.com and vice president of DevelopAll, brings up the salient intersection of parenthood and salary. "When a male employee is about to become a father, there is an assumption that he is due for a raise as his financial obligations are becoming bigger," she writes. "When a woman has a baby, she is expected to quit or to become a less productive employee, and there is no question of giving her a raise.What Women CEOs Are Earning
Ann Daly, an executive coach who specializes in women's professional development out of the Austin , Texas , area, barely bothers to mince words. "Sadly, your anecdotal evidence backs up what the research has shown," she says. "The definitive, complex answer comes from these two books, Women Don't Ask and Ask for It, both by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. They are required reading!"
"Women understand that they are in a double bind: They are expected to be [leaders] in the workplace, yet they are also expected to be team-playing women. So it's because women understand the potential consequences of the ask (she's uppity) that they temper the request. Research studies have shown that both men and women judge a woman more harshly who asks for a higher starting salary than a man with the same qualifications asking for the same."
"It's not about women, it's about the system we live in and what we have to do to negotiate it."
Linda Bolliger, an entrepreneur and founder/chair of Boardroom Bound, a national nonprofit organization that helps companies find pre-qualified candidates for corporate board services, explains, "This is an incredibly important issue to address and we women must make it our business to understand the dynamics involved if we are to progress." Bolliger also urges women to spend more time "helping men realize their need to understand women's value in the workplace and how to better honor it. Our consensus style is our planet's last hope if we are to move commerce and political power beyond the use of force to empower our ability to reach a 22nd century."
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