Women’s empowerment begins with asking for what you want. You simply can’t be empowered while unnecessarily apologizing all over yourself or wishing and hoping things would fall into your lap. As women, we’ve been taught that if we speak up, we are causing trouble and that in order to be a “good girl,” we should just stay quiet and take what we are given. It’s time to throw that way of thinking out the window. 
A well-known statistic when it comes to the conversation around the gender pay gap is that men earn 25% more than women for equitable work. A lesser-known fact is eight times more men are negotiating than women. Only 7% of women negotiated their starting salary last year, and the pandemic hasn’t helped matters.
It’s no secret that women’s paychecks have generally been slimmer than their male counterparts. But it’s not just discrepancies in income that are holding women back from long-term financial success. Many women have been conditioned not to openly discuss finances, making it difficult for them to advocate on behalf of their salaries in the workforce, and leaving potential earnings behind. 
The best place to start when preparing yourself to ask for more money is by getting curious and examining why you’re hesitant to negotiate in the first place. 
Here are 4 Steps To Getting the Salary That You Want: 

1. Get Clear on What’s Holding You Back

Why don’t women just come out and ask for more money? It’s clear that most men have absolutely no problem doing just that. But culture has given women a script around money. Essentially, we’ve been programmed internally in a way that holds us back from financial negotiation. It’s time to dig deep and really get to the root of why you are afraid to ask. What does your gut tell you when you think of money? Are you afraid of investing? Are you scared to ask for a raise? Why are you so scared of these things? Understanding your internal blockages is the first step to getting over them. 

2. Mentally Prepare Yourself

Once you understand why you aren’t comfortable asking for more money, it’s now time to bust through that mentality. You can now mentally prepare yourself to ask for money. Yes, it’s scary. But what do you have to back it up? Are you asking for a raise because you’re the most experienced person in your department? Maybe you’ve taken a new job that was a lateral move, or maybe you’re just underpaid in your field. 
Whatever the reason, unpacking why you are deserving of the raise will give you the confidence you need to walk into your boss’s offices and make the ask. It’s also important to make a plan ahead of time for what you plan to do if your request is turned down. Part of being brave enough to ask is sticking to it and not just shrinking away when you are told “no.” You are resolved to take up space and push for what your talents and experience are worth. Remember, this deprogramming journey you are on doesn’t end with asking for a raise. The self-reflection needs to continue if you want to flip the script on your financial future as a woman.
You are resolved to take up space and push for what your talents and experience are worth.

3. Practice

Okay, this may sound cheesy, but hear me out. What can it hurt to spend a bit of time with a friend going over what you plan to say and asking them to provide their strongest objections as to why it’s not time for a salary increase? At the very least, you’ve articulated everything you plan to say and it may bring up other points you may have forgotten. But your friend may also bring up objections you hadn’t thought of, which you can then address if HR or your boss also brings them up. A side benefit? As women, we just don’t talk about money with each other. Maybe it will inspire your friend to look at her situation and evaluate if she is getting what is deserved at work. These are conversations women need to be having with each other. 

4. Make the Ask

The day is here. You’ve dug deep, you’re prepared mentally and you’ve gone over every possible scenario. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Fear is the biggest hurdle we have to jump through when negotiating around money. But you deserve this and it’s time to make some noise. The worst that can happen is that your boss says no. But you are prepared to push back with evidence of why a raise is deserved and other alternatives include proposing a timeline to re-evaluate completely with goals you plan to hit along the way. There’s absolutely no harm in asking for more. It’s time for the gender pay gap to close. This is how we make that happen.


Andrea Owen