Here Is What's Keeping Women From Getting the Raises They Deserve

Women often don't negotiate, and their reluctance to do so costs them as much as $500,000 over the course of their lifetimes, according one study. The fear of asking for anything -- more money, better perks, time off -- prevents many women from getting what they deserve. So why are they so fearful?

empty pockets 

(Photo Credit: stuartpilbrow/Flickr)

"In my experience, too many women talk themselves out of asking for anything for fear that merely posing the question will somehow count against them," writes Lea Goldman in Marie Claire. "I've seen colleagues shudder at the thought of even requesting a personal day, as though it somehow reflected poorly on their work ethic."

Goldman goes on to say that this fear is far from unfounded. She cites a 2006 Harvard study that found that women who negotiated for me were viewed by their superiors as pushy or aggressive -- and subtly penalized for it.

But when it comes right down to it, you have to ask yourself: is it worse to be seen as pushy, but compensated fairly for your labor, and risk those tiny penalties, or be a good girl and miss out on the cash?

Give that half-a-million potential loss, pushy seems like a better option.

Of course, the usual negotiating advice stands:

1. Do your research.

Find out ahead of time what your position pays and what its duties usually entail. PayScale's Research Center is a good place to start.

2. Document your accomplishments.

It's a good idea to keep track of what you're working on and what you've achieved, so that you won't draw a blank when you're at the bargaining table.

3. Think like a man.

Ask yourself, "Would a man ask for a better starting salary, or a raise, or a promotion?" If the answer in your situation is yes, don't think twice about asking.

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