Our society puts all kinds of expectations on people based on how they look. Both women and men face specific workplace pressures and expectations related to their perceived sex. The way that an employer thinks about or relates to employees can have an impact on the success of individual workers.
Unfortunately, many times, the attitude of employers and upper management toward women in the workplace can limit their opportunities. This is particularly true when it comes to highly skilled professional women. Despite having education, experience and a great work performance history, women still lag behind men with a similar background as far as earning potential. Pay negotiation can directly contribute to this unfair discrepancy.
Women ask for raises almost as frequently as men
When people talk about the gap in wages between men and women, the idea that female workers are less likely to ask for raises often comes up. People also suggest that women don’t negotiate as strongly for raises, which means that they end up earning less.
However, even when controlling for the frequency of requesting raises, research still shows that the wage negotiation process tends to favor men. Surprisingly, it is the same stereotype that gives rise to the idea that women don’t ask for raises that keeps them from getting raises when they do.
When the person negotiating for a pay raise felt like the female employee was more aggressive, often because the female employee had an alternative offer to bolster their confidence, the outcome was less favorable. People tend to have a strong, negative bias against women who self-advocate aggressively, even in wage negotiations.
How do you prove that your sex played a role in your pay?
It can be difficult for workers to stand up and claim that their employer has treated them unfairly based on a protected characteristic like biological sex or gender-identity. However, when it is clear that your coworkers of the opposite sex but similar job function and experience make more than you, you may have reason to suspect that your sex or gender-identity played a role in the pay that you earn.
Establishing a pattern by speaking with other employees can give you a better idea about whether your situation might constitute discrimination.