Negotiating for Salary as a Woman is an undervalued skill that invariably results in women being judged harshly in just about any industry.  Why the double standard should still exist is beyond me, but it’s hardly a surprise that it does.  According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the wage gap between men and women has scarcely budged in the last decade and it will take another 45 years before women and men in the U.S. earn the same wage for doing the same job.

It’s not that women aren’t capable of negotiating, but studies suggest they aren’t comfortable negotiating for themselves based on how their future employer will perceive them. Harvard Business Review says that women become nervous when negotiating for higher pay because they correctly intuit that self-advocating for higher pay presents a socially difficult situation for them, much more so than for men.

The social stigma associated with negotiation isn’t something many women wish to take on when stepping into a new role within a new organization.  Men who negotiate their salaries are perceived as being sharp and their negotiating skills an asset.  Women who negotiate, on the other hand, are often perceived as nagging and being unsatisfied with their offer.  84% of employers expect prospective employees to negotiate salary during the interview stage, yet only 30% of women bother to negotiate at all.  Compared with 46% of men who negotiate, the number is staggeringly low.

Women have good reason to be leery of negotiating.  They pay a higher price for negotiating than men do and are frequently labeled before they’ve begun their first day on the job.

Accepting a job offer without salary negotiation is a large part of what keeps women earning 3/4 of men’s wages in just about every industry across the U.S., and that can ultimately lead to up to two million dollars in lost income over the course of a woman’s career.  I repeat, that’s two million dollars that should be yours.

Women who do take the opportunity to negotiate, however, are every bit as effective as men.  So, ladies, take the bull by the horns, risk the label (Together, we’ll eventually get rid of it!), and bolster your self-confidence.  You’re worth every penny.

What has your experience been like when the job offer was on the table? Leave a comment below, I want to know about it!