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Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,493 ratings  ·  215 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 kno

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2003)
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Melanie Well, this book is less about strategies and more about background on why women don't negotiate as much as men and why their negotiations aren't as su…moreWell, this book is less about strategies and more about background on why women don't negotiate as much as men and why their negotiations aren't as successful.

There are some mentions of studies that find women and minorities fare worse than white men in (whatever the specific focus of the study), but no, there is not really a specific emphasis on women of color. I read the 2003 edition, so I'm not sure if that topic gets more attention in the 207 edition.(less)
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Brenda Pike
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Abby Deane
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by the only female partner at my firm. I was skeptical because as a woman who doesn’t fall into the tentative, indirect lady category, sometimes conversations about gender bore me. However, this book was extremely helpful! I would recommend and even read again to reinforce some concepts. It is written in a research paper style, so just be prepared for that kind of structure.

The most helpful part was realizing the amount of things in life that are negotiable which
May 26, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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, because
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books
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
Cyndie Courtney
Feb 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-book
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
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
"The most striking finding...was that the students who had negotiated (most of them men) were able to increase their starting salaries by 7.4 percent on average, or $4,053--almost exactly the difference between the men's and women's average starting pay. This suggests that the salary differences between men and women might have been eliminated if the woman had negotiated their offers."
This book is a must-read for everyone. Even though this was published eleven years ago, the research
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 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: career
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
Mar 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  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
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
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is about why women don't excel at negotiations as much as man do and how they approach them differently. The part I liked the best was the beginning, which gives the psychology background and reasons of how even the smallest comments and unconscious actions of our parents shape who we are. I also found later parts, which describe a way to embrace our femininity to excel, very intriguing. The book was quite a slow read for me because after each paragraph I would stop and think of situat ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bella Swann
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Calley Lev
I wish this book was a little more instructive, instead of including about a thousand vignettes with interviewees, like Sue is a district attorney...Janet is an architect...Noreen is set designer...Paula is an orchestral violinist... blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, I wanted to know more about how to OVERCOME the gender divide, and not be bashed over the head for the millionth time about how, YES, it sucks to be a woman in a competitive work environment. GIVE ME TOOLS NOT STATS.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Relatable, infuriating, and inspiring. This is a very readable book that helped illuminate some of the societal teachings and reinforcements that have informed my view of and approach to negotiation. Despite having learned tactics before, this book helped explain the mindsets that have been holding me back from effectively wielding some of those tactics. A helpful, quick read.
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book really helped me switch my perspective with respect to job negotiations. After the first few chapters though, it became a little repetitive to me, so I ended up putting it down before I finished reading it.
Samantha Hines
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must-read. Not only does it offer sound analysis and useful advice to help move women forward, it also explains how traditional negotiating techniques by women can be a strength. Way better than Lean In.
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. ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on communication for women. Good advice on why asking and direct communication will be most effective.
Ee Cheng Ooi
A book which inundates you with facts from scientific research demonstrating that, as a woman, you're 1) unfairly perceived to be a crap leader and negotiator, 2) you're genuinely more of a crap leader and negotiator, and 3) you're helpless to change this because of the way society works. Oh, and 4) no one seems to recognise this due to their (and your) inherent unconscious biases, so you'll feel like you're taking crazy pills if you even suspect that this is holding you back. When you try to ta ...more
Elpida Lygerou
Innumerous examples of why women should negotiate and explanations of the psychological differences and the reasons behind not negotiating for women. I enjoyed reading and may feel guilty if I don’t negotiate the next time round....
Schafer Bomstein
This book had a significant impact on my professional life. Long before the ‘Lean In’ days, I learned how to ask for what I want.
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
For me, the first few chapters and the last chapter or two were the most helpful. The middle chapters were good, but I felt (after a first-read) that they were trying to attribute gender differences entirely to how children are raised and how adults/parents treat different genders. And while I think there is a lot of valid points made by the authors, is also think there are inherent differences between men and women that can’t be entirely explained by how they are raised/treated. But I don’t kno ...more
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Linda C. Babcock is the James Mellon Walton Professor of Economics at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has also served as director of the Ph.D. Program and Interim Dean at the Heinz School.

Dr. Babcock grew up in Altadena, California, and attended public schools there before earning her bachelor's degree in e

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“even when women can imagine changes that might increase their productivity at work, their happiness at home, or their overall contentment with their lives, their suppressed sense of entitlement creates real barriers to their asking. Because they’re not dissatisfied with what they have and not sure they deserve more, women often settle for less.” 1 likes
“for women. These results suggest that men are asking for things they want and initiating negotiations much more” 0 likes
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