Quick hit: New Catalyst study finds that women do ask

But they don’t get. At least, not at the same rates as men do.

Two researchers from Catalyst, a research and consulting organization that aims to make workplaces more diverse and equitable, are writing a series for the Washington Post about gender inequity in the workplace. Their first article features research from a new Catalyst report on how an employee’s gender affects their salary growth and promotion:

Our findings run counter to media coverage of the so-called phenomenon that “women don’t ask.” Instead the problem may be, as some other research has shown, that people routinely take a tougher stance against women in negotiations than they take against men—for example quoting higher starting prices when trying to sell women cars or making less generous offers when dividing a sum of money. Catalyst research has shown a number of ways that talent-management systems can also be vulnerable to unintentional gender biases and stereotypes.

Our latest findings should help us move past arguments that women themselves are to blame for the gender gap. “Too often the focus is on ‘women’s perceived issues’,” says Shahla Aly, a vice president at Microsoft. “This notion gives false comfort – that with time women will ‘be fixed’ and advance.”

If women are asking, but are still not advancing as quickly, maybe we need to frame things differently. Perhaps it’s not that women don’t ask—but that men don’t have to.

In other words, it’s not women who need to change, but workplaces. The problem is not that women are doing things “wrong,” because even when they do them “right,” they don’t advance at the same rates that men do: “When women did all the things they have been told will help them get ahead,” the report states, “they still advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.”

The whole report, entitled The Myth of the Ideal Worker, is available for you to read here.

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