Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not Just for Ourselves

I read an illuminating blog post by Whitney Johnson on the Harvard Business Publishing website (okay, someone actually sent it to me, in case you were wondering why I was on the site to begin with...). Apparently women who ask for raises or negotiate for higher salaries not only frequently don't get the higher salary, that their male counterparts may be getting, but they are frowned upon for having asked. Nice girls don't ask for pay rises, or actually, much of anything. So we're in a double bind--if you don't ask, you won't get; if you ask, you're not nice. What interested me most about the post was that the writer (a woman) pointed out that the former (ask-get) means we have to keep asking, even if people don't perceive us as nice. But also, that by asking we are not only standing up for ourselves, but for ALL women...for ALL women. No, you have not had too many martinis. Yes, I did just type that twice.

When we set precedents in the world as strong women (by asking for raises and climbing mountains), we help not only ourselves, but we help all the women who come next, all the girls who aren't women yet. We smooth the path, pave the way, lay the groundwork etc...How cool is that? In case you thought what you did wasn't important. Think again.