Gender and Negotiation

Gender issues in negotiation arise from often unconscious stereotypical beliefs about how women ought to behave. This makes gender a very important aspect when talking about negotiation, because perceptions of gender are linked to thoughts of power and status

  1. It’s not you

    It’s what the other person sees. If they see a woman, chances are they will expect the negotiation to be easier and give you a harder time. The trick is to negotiate in a way that minimizes the negative effects

  2.  Disagreement affects us

    If a woman is clear and unequivocal in her disagreement, she might be perceived in a more negative way than a man and be judged accordingly. Knowing this can make it easier to deal with

  3. Insist on transparency

    Finding out what competencies are valued at work and how others are compensated can highlight a possible structural inequality. Push for a revision of the organizational structures that might create unequal opportunities

  4. Be visible

    Find ways of demonstrating your skills and showing your results on a regular basis. You may think others see you, but make sure they do, just in case…

  5. Take credit

    Make sure you also take personal credit for the things you achieve, as well as what you achieve in collaboration with others. Do this in a way you are comfortable with, but please do it

  6. Damage control

    If you expect strong resistance to your demands, you can send your proposal before the negotiation and avoid a negative reaction face-to-face

  7. Facilitate the process

    Help everyone negotiate in a constructive manner. Facilitate the process using questions, ideas and balanced proposals instead of arguments and discussion

  8. Change the lens

    If you suspect that negative gender bias is at play, make sure to talk about yourself in terms of your competencies, role or status: ‘As team-leader my experience is…’ or ‘In all my years working as a senior consultant…’ Slowly, you will make others see you as a woman and a leader/expert/experienced coworker

  9. Promote other women

    Make sure to highlight other women’s achievements and help them become visible

  10. Watch out

    We are all biased, so ask yourself if your negative perception of a woman might also have something to do with stereotypical thinking? Would you see her in the same light, if she were a man?