The Wednesday Weigh-In: Negotiating that pay raise edition

Feministing readers are pretty familiar with the wage gap. The short story is that women still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, and are paid less even in the same job, working the same hours. While institutionalized sexism remains the key culprit for this travesty, it’s also true that women are both less likely to ask for and less likely to receive a salary increase, which doesn’t exactly help the situation.

The problem is self-perpetuating in that women face a kind of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation when it comes to asking for more money. Studies show that women seeking to negotiate their salaries face a (highly sexist) dilemma: They have to weigh the monetary benefits of negotiating against the social consequences of having negotiated, which research shows are especially harsh for women.

…until now. Lady money seekers rejoice! A new study identifies a possible solution to this kind of wage gap catch-22, a way to counteract all those negative impressions you’re making by being a bitch wanting to be fairly compensated for your labor. And what is this utterly shocking, totally groundbreaking brand spanking new recommendation for women hoping to ingratiate themselves to the mighty dollar?

Be “feminine and apologetic.”

Huh. Where have I heard this advice before? Oh, maybe embedded in every single cultural and social message I’ve received since I was born.

The report, which seems to be well-meaning in the sense that it seeks to find solutions to the unsolvable state of Existing While Female, is used as the basis for this AOL News article as a resource to “devise clever ways… to ask for a raise” that will and help you “appear non-aggressive and feminine.” Such tactics include: mentioning how weird you feel about asking for a raise (self deprecate!); making the argument that your negotiating is actually good for the organization as a whole (it’s for the greater good!); asking your boss what he or she thinks about your raise; and blaming it on someone else.

It’s sad to me that even today, the most scientifically sound way for women to pursue equity and justice is by conforming to traditionally feminized gender stereotypes grounded in submission and meekness. So this week, we’re crowd sourcing some alternative tactics in our weekly weigh-in:

Have you ever negotiated for a pay raise or promotion? What tactics did you find successful? What advice would you give to others in the same position?

Related:

The Feministing Five: Lily Ledbetter

Romney campaign on whether women should be paid fairly: we’ll get back to you on that

Infographic: women still get paid less money!

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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