Last month, a new study came to a somewhat shocking and downright puzzling conclusion: women ask for pay raises just as much as men do but receive them less often. The revelation debunked the common notion that not broaching the compensation conversation is what cramps women's pay, and it raised an obvious question: why are women being turned down?
A panel discussion on negotiating tactics at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit yesterday provided a few clues.
Vicki Medvec, executive director of the Center for Executive Women at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, said it's not that women don’t ask for things as well as men. In fact, women are better at it—when they're doing it on behalf of their organizations, companies, and kids. “It’s only when we’re asking for ourselves that we struggle,” she said.
The problem? Women reach agreement too quickly because they “like to get to yes” and “don’t set ambitious enough goals.”
Medvec recommends approaching a negotiation in terms of four questions that she calls the “issue matrix.” One: Which are the key elements that are most important to you? Two: What’s most important to your negotiating partner? Three: What will be most contentious? And four: What’s easier for you and the other side to give up?
Pontish Yeramyan, founder and CEO of consulting firm Gap International, offered another suggestion that's sure to resonate: whenever she hears “no” in a negotiation, “I just don’t believe that’s forever.”
Answering with a question
Give it up for Jessica Williams, founder of secretarial recruitment firm Sidekicks, who's developed a foolproof way to combat clients' sexism. When they request an assistant that "looks the part," ask for someone who's blonde, or presume that all candidates are female, Williams replies: "Why?" That approach "turns the statement on its head," she says, "and immediately forces that person to logically justify their statement (which, of course, they cannot do)."
This New York Times documentary profiles female candidates in Saudi Arabia's first election in which women could run for office and vote.
Fly the techier skies
EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall had some good news to report yesterday in a year that's seen her company pummeled by Britain's decision to leave the EU. The discount airline is investing in London startup accelerator Founders Factory in hopes of producing the next big thing in the travel-tech industry.
More than a store
Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts talked at the MPW summit yesterday about her efforts to revamp Apple's iconic retail stores into "town squares" with coding courses for kids and sessions that help teachers incorporate technology into classrooms. "The store is now the biggest product we produce," she said. "We are thinking about what the community needs."
Athletes become superstars for one simple reason: because of how they run, or throw, or hit. Yet we still treat them like heroes—and for the companies that tap those athletes as brand ambassadors, that can get complicated. At the MPW summit yesterday, Under Armour SVP of global retail Susie McCabe talked about how her company attempts to avoid that minefield in choosing its star power: “The biggest thing we look for is character. We have a no a–hole policy.”
Can trans girls be sorority girls? It's an interesting question since sororities and fraternities are exempt from the federal law that bans discrimination based on sex. The National Panhellenic Conference—the largest Greek umbrella organization for women—has been quiet on the issue and only three of 26 major national sororities in the U.S. have formal, public policies stating they are inclusive of transgender women.
Two's a crowd
Women in China are now allowed to have more than one child and the state is urging them to do so. (“Get to sleep early, stop playing cards, work hard to produce a child!” is one less-than-subtle slogan.) But moms there—pressured by financial, time, and societal restrictions—say they're too exhausted to have a second kid.
Her true voice
Bollywood star Deepika Padukone's upcoming role in xXx: Return of Xander Cage is notable because she's cast as a leather-clad, gun-wielding romantic interest of Vin Diesel in a blockbuster—a rarity for Indian actresses—and because she's made a point to ditch the over-exaggerated Indian accent Hollywood is so used to. “I play an Indian girl in the film, and for me, it’s a matter of great pride that I get to be myself," she says.
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This Muslim blogger created an inclusive hijab line for all skin tones
"[H]ave confidence in yourself, no matter what situation you find yourself in. Don’t kid yourself to think that once you become a college graduate, it’s not going to happen anymore — it still does. Or if you become a lawyer that it won’t happen anymore — it still does. Or if you become a partner at a really big law firm that it won’t happen anymore — it still does. Meaning, those situations where you walk in the room and you’re the only woman and nobody is quite sure what you’re doing there."
--Tina Tchen, chief of staff for First Lady Michelle Obama, on her advice for young women.