Women Don't Ask: Learning to Get What You Want

I recently became engrossed in a book called “Women Don’t Ask; Negotiation and the Gender Divide” by Linda Babcook and Sara Laschever. Babcook was inspired to research women and negotiation, after she noticed more male graduate students were teaching their own undergraduate courses, and most female graduate students were teaching assistants. After asking her dean why this was, Babcook was simply told that more men were asking to teach their own courses.

“Women Don’t Ask” asks the provocative question: are the socioeconomic disparities between men and women largely attributed to the fact that men ask for what they want, while women do not? Furthermore, are women simply not asking for more because their expectations are far too low?

“Women Don’t Ask” has forced me to confront whether I am truly taking advantage of every opportunity that is available to me. Through self reflection, I have found areas that I could improve in my own life by asking for change. What are aspects of your life can be improved by asking or negotiating a better situation?

At the beginning of this summer I, like many of my friends, was struggling to secure a summer internship. Although I had applied to several internships throughout the school year, I was unable to obtain any of them. I found myself forced to embark on an exhausting search to find one. Eventually, I was able to find an internship. However, many of my friends were not as lucky.

A friend of mine learned mid-summer that one of her male counter-parts secured a paid summer internship and received a university car! Of course, when she inquired about how he secured the internship, it was simply because he asked his university’s career services department about summer opportunities. If my friend had only done the same thing, she may have received the same information.

Of course, every problem does not seem like it can be so easily changed by asking. Ironically, this is usually not the case. By asking for what you want, you are making a conscious decision to control your life. Whether you want to improve your relationship with your boyfriend, parents, friends, professors, supervisors, sorority sisters etc., most aspects of your life can be changed, although it may seem as if someone else has the power.

As women, we have the gift of nurturing, bravery, and relationship building; however, we don’t always ask to be rewarded for our true worth. As the new generation of female leaders, it is our responsibility to alter the negative spiral of discontent that has plagued us throughout the past. How are you going to utilize asking to get what you truly desire?

Angel Mills| Image: Source

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