It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

May 04, 2012

As we grow up, we quickly learn that we can negotiate certain aspects of our lives. When I was younger, I tried to negotiate things like my curfew on the weekends and the number of extra snacks I could have from the corner candy store. Although I was already knowledgeable about the gender wage gap, I recently learned through AAUW’s $tart $mart salary negotiation workshop how important it is to negotiate in my adult life, especially my salary and benefits. Besides those trivial negotiations in my childhood, I’ve had very little experience, particularly in the realm of work and wages.

Over the course of her working life, a woman will earn up to $1 million less than a man. As a junior in college, I will soon be entering the workplace. As a young woman, I need to learn how to negotiate my salary and benefits.

Before the $tart $mart workshop, I didn’t know that I could negotiate my salary. I often think that I will be lucky to even get a job, given today’s economy. But by not questioning my salary when I accept a job, I will help maintain the wage gap, especially since it widens over the course of women’s careers. When I look at it this way, I understand how easily that gap can grow. $tart $mart taught me how to be aware of salary ranges and expectations based on factors like job location and specific position details. I also learned how to strategize asking these questions — and how to do so professionally.

As the workshop continued, I realized that I might not be able to help reduce the wage gap if I can’t negotiate my own salary and benefits. It is important for everyone to realize the power of negotiation — it can’t hurt to ask. I recommend this workshop to all young women so that they can earn as much as they deserve for their work — and stay on par with men.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Laura Corrigan.

By:   |   May 04, 2012

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