Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide
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Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  609 ratings  ·  124 reviews
When Linda Babcock asked why so many male graduate students were teaching their own courses and most female students were assigned as assistants, her dean said: More men ask. The women just don't ask. It turns out that whether they want higher salaries or more help at home, women often find it hard to ask. Sometimes they don't know that change is possible--they don't know...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published January 10th 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2003)
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Brenda Pike
My Negotiation and Conflict Resolution class has been really rewarding so far, but by far the best part of it has been discovering the book Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. It’s been a bit of a revelation for me, making me realize that the world is far more negotiable than I think. However, statistically, women are less likely to ask for what we want, and when we do ask, we tend to get less than what men do. Some reasons for this:

* We’re more anxious about conflict.
* We tend...more
Everyone should read this book.

For women, this book shows empirically some of the effects of gender socialization, how that socialization creates pay inequality, and what you can do about it.

For men, this book is a great window into some of the cultural dynamics that may be invisible to you, that women have to deal with every day. Also, if you are male but feel like you have trouble being assertive, you should also read it and sub yourself in for the women that Babcock studied, because you've p...more
The best part of the book was the Introduction, which does a great job of succinctly explaining how females in our generation and culture were raised to be passive and non-competitive, which works against them in their future careers by not teaching them how to negotiate for what they want. Whether that be salary, responsibilities, or titles, we are never encouraged to ask for what we've earned or what we deserve. It blew my mind and explained a lot! However, once you move into the main content...more
Mar 16, 2010 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Rainey
Shelves: sd-fem-bookclub
Women Don't Ask starts off strong, making a powerful case that women's large wage discrepancies can be at least partly explained by their failure to negotiate better salaries and benefits for themselves, failure to ask for what they want, and consistent undervaluation of themselves. These differences don't arise out of nowhere, we learn; from a young age girls are discouraged from asserting their own desires and instructed to value relationships over promoting themselves. Unfortunately for women...more
Mark Muckerman
As business books go, it was okay, and in the final analysis, I'm glad I read it. It did give me some broader perspectives on women in the workplace, and a new and DATA SUPPORTED viewpoint on behavioral traits in men and women. If you are a business leader who has, expects to have, or wants to have women on your team and to support them as effectively as you can, it begins with understanding. Women Don't Ask provides information, information supports understanding, and that can't help but make y...more
Sep 22, 2007 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who would like to improve their negotiation skills
Shelves: women
Really interesting read on women & power in negotiating/the workplace.

As a woman who isn't afraid to ask for things that I feel are rightly deserved (a promotion for working hard, a pay raise because I'm making less than the going rate for whatever it is that I'm doing), I was kind of shocked that so many of the example women in this book were so passive. But then again, I've been there - I think it's hard work learning how to ask for what you need, and negotiate for things as a woman, beca...more
This book has certainly been making me think a hell of a lot, it's made me more observant of the subtle -- or non-subtle I had totally missed until now because they seem so "normal" -- ways in which girls and boys are treated and the expectations that are put upon them from early on, and how people (of both genders) react to things differently depending on the gender of the person who said or did it.

I really enjoyed all the studies described all along the book, as well as the insights the book p...more
Bella Swann
I really liked this book. It gave a lot of information on the reasons why women often don't negotiate, why women often negotiate better for the needs of others than for themselves, and why men see more of life as negotiable. This book looked at social, cultural, and biological factors as well as unconscious biases that both men and women hold towards assertive women who exercise leadership. This book also gave practical suggestions on how women should negotiate in different situations. I will de...more
Overall, I was disappointed with this book. A lot of the attitude was so anti-male I had a hard time relating to the material. Particularly the last chapter on "domestic" negotiations, which basically implies all men sleep around and infect women with STDs so women need to "negotiate" using condoms. From an academic perspective, it was well-researched and explored a good deal of landmark studies cited related to the topic of negotiation, and that's why it gets the 2 stars. This book is best for...more
I'm at the beginning of this book but so far I'm finding it very exciting. The basic idea is that women generally don't negotiate in situations in which they can. For example, a large percentage of women don't negotiate their starting salaries, and starting salaries are often on the low end because the employer expects that people will negotiate. Something like 60% of men do negotiate their starting salary. Researchers have calculated that over the course of a career negotiating your starting sa...more
Excellent. Elucidates what I'm sure many women already knew, expected, or suspected with statistics and case studies that were often disheartening but important. Definitely eye-opening, illuminationg our society and profoundly different norms for men vs. women where negotiation is concerned. Made me wish I had read it earlier or had access to this information far sooner, both in my career and in my personal life. Not only should this be read by all working women, the men who work with them and h...more
A difficult book to read. I tend to think of myself as assertive and confident - then I noticed all the patterns I have courtesy of this book. Of course I want people to like me and I don't want them to think that I'm pushy or controlling. The end result is, I don't get what I want and then I'm unsatisfied (at best) or resentful and angry (at worst). I have found in my life that if I just open my mouth and ask for something, even if the answer is no, the world doesn't end and people don't walk a...more
I found the book to not be very helpful at suggesting negotiation tips. They mostly spent the majority of the book telling me how despite my best efforts I still wouldn't negotiate as well as a man, and then one chapter telling me that I still had hope if I read several other books. Important topic but more reportive than constructive.

The more I think about this book the more frustrated and depressed it makes me, especially as I approach negotiations myself. I wouldn't recommend reading it if yo...more
This is an excellent book that should probably be read by all women as they walk out the door of college in search of a "first job," but it's not too late to add this to the reading list for my peer group out there on job 5 or 10. I attended a conference a few years ago that brought this book to my attention and I completely credit it with giving me the confidence to ask for (and receive) better pay, better hours, and a much more enjoyable job situation. You can't get what you want if you don't...more
Mona Grenier
An interesting look at the reasons why women are seen as being bad at asking for what they want (negotiating), the effect this has on our society, and what can be done about it. The theories presented in the book are based in peer-reviewed academic research and illustrated through interesting anecdotes.

The book itself is a bit repetitive, especially in the first few chapters, and tends to hit points a little too hard on the head many times over. I found the narrator of the audiobook a bit annoy...more
Feb 26, 2008 Jung rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
excellent book for everyone to read, especially, of course women and those who work with women. makes you think twice about assuming what is negotiable. saw a presentation by the co-author Sara Laschever and she was awesome. follow up book: Ask For It provides more practical advice on negotiating.
This book is a great book for women in business. This book stresses that women often shy away from negotiation for fear of straining work relationships. This book offers tips on how to negotiate and not be afraid to ask for the resources you need to better do your job.
A must read for any working girl - an eye opener on how women's tendency to wait for their just reward instead of asking for it can lead to unintended inequality.
Anna Halbrooks
This book was not quite what I wanted it to be. About 80% of it resolves around WHY women make less money than men and fail to advocate for themselves in other avenues of their life. 20% or less focuses on what we can DO about that. I was already relatively familiar with general concepts about gender and social conditioning- which the author spent a lot of time covering. I was looking for more suggestions as to how to improve my own negotiation skills. While some suggestions were included, this...more
There are a lot of cool anecdotes of behavioral experiments showing incredible differences between men and women's attitudes toward negotiation, and even more paraphrased interviews from women detailing their experiences and feelings--these were interesting too, but it got tiresome when I had already accepted their arguments and just wanted to get to the negotiation tips part, which didn't come until nearly three-quarters of the way in.

It basically boils down to:
1. Know that you can negotiate
Amy Brown
Women miss opportunities for advancement, increased remuneration, more flexible hours, and many other benefits because they don't negotiate; they don't ask. This readable and thoroughly-research book explains why, what we give up when we choose not to negotiate, and how we can get past our various aversions to negotiation and ask for what we are entitled to. It also discusses the ways that women's negotiating style is more suited to modern organizations, and how women are often more likely to cr...more
Women have been guided by a society where they have been accustomed to wait for opportunities such as salary raises or more flexible hours. In contrast, men have generally lived in a non-restrictive world, where it can be argued that more is available to them. This causes them to feel more confident about asking for raises or negotiating flexible hours and doing it with a higher 'target' in mind than women. Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide introduces the societal barriers surro...more
I took a really long time to read this book because I wanted to give it my focus when I was reading it. I would read a couple chapters, wait a couple months and read another more. I wanted to really absorb the messaging because I believe the issues they discuss are a huge part of what feminism should needs to focusing on: teaching women self confidence, teaching women to stand up for themselves, teaching women they are and deserve the same as men.

This book is not a book on how to negotiate. If t...more
Amanda Linehan
This book was great. It actually gives concrete tools and knowledge that you can use. I've read lots of good books about womens pay disparity and the need for women to promote themselves better at work, but many books over-rely on research and case studies to prove their points, yet don't go as far as to offer action steps.

The longer I'm in the professional world the more I see the need for this kind of book, and I'd highly recommend this one to any woman in management OR at the start of their c...more
This book was really eye-opening. I went into it knowing that women are paid less and knowing that women don't negotiate as much or as well as men usually do. Coming out of it, I've got a new sense of both power and lack of it.

The book is backed by hundreds of case studies and research, and I often read those cases thinking, "I would never have done what she did," or "Why did she give up so easily?" and to some extent, I still wonder that. Why would a woman say, "Nevermind," during a talk about...more
Jul 25, 2007 Candis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women
Much like reading Gloria Steinem's "My Life as a Playboy Bunny," at times, this book totally irritated me - but I am so, so, so glad I read it. I can look back on decisions I have made in both my personal life and career that I would totally do differently if given the chance - I realize that in the past, I NEVER negotiated. In the past, I have just taken what I was given. For example, I once fell in love with a BEAUTIFUL, 18th-century French dressing table that cost an exorbitant amount of mone...more
Kristen Pollard
While I found the book rather depressing at first, I was later glad to become aware of certain behaviours that I have that prevent me from getting what I want. I think the biggest revelation was knowing that working hard is not enough, but that you actually have to ask for what you want. I wish this book could be condensed so that I could hand it out to all of my female friends and managers. It's well worth it for any woman who feels "stuck" or under-appreciated in her job.
May 26, 2010 Mackenzie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Mackenzie by: Valerie Aurora
Shelves: feminist, nonfiction
Read it. Definitely read it. I handed my copy off to another woman I know within 12 hours of finishing reading it, because you absolutely must read it. If you're a woman, you work with women, you manage women, you are managed by a woman, you have a wife, or you have a daughter: READ IT!

The statistics and research are very interesting and demonstrate the high impact of how we're socialised from a young age and how that can limit or expand successes throughout our lives. Throughout, there is advic...more
A thorough discussion of the reasons why women have trouble with negotiation. This book would be particularly valuable for women who might not have a lot of experience/understanding in this area.
Dec 28, 2011 Greyskylark rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Greyskylark by: Mark Ross
Whether you're a women or not, whether you're interested in feminism or not, this book is key. Babcock gives us a look at all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that female people are encouraged to doubt themselves, stay quiet, and be as unobtrusive as possible. Babcock focuses on how these dynamics continue well into adulthood, creating a society where women make less money than men. This situation arises in part because women have been taught to never negotiate their salaries. While this book f...more
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