Women Can Out-Negotiate Men in the Right Circumstances, Study Says, So There
In case anyone needed more evidence to prove that women do just fine in business, it turns out a new study suggests that, under certain conditions, women are better at financial negotiations than men. Which shouldn't really come as a surprise, when you think about it. Women are kind of awesome.
Researchers with the American Psychological Association looked at data from 51 studies with a total of over 10,000 participants spanning several countries including the U.S., China, and India. In their analysis, they found that when it comes to financial negotiations, different genders tend to excel in different situations. When it comes to negotiating on behalf of another person, women tend to perform better than men. Unfortunately, women don't tend to fare as well when it comes to negotiating on behalf of themselves or a company or organization.
“Women in negotiations might feel social pressure to adhere to the female role and display gender-consistent behavior such as accommodation or cooperation,” the researchers explained in the study, adding that women who go against those roles often face social backlash. And this has often led to the perception that women are not able to drive a hard bargain in the way that men can.
But it seems that, when women are acting on behalf of another person — perhaps thereby seen as fulfilling the feminine gender role of caretaker — women do quite well for themselves.
When it comes to women in business, there's plenty of evidence that says women are actually not just good at business but good for business, like the fact that companies with more women in senior management perform better, or the fact that corporations with female CEOs do better on the stock market. And it seems that women don't actually have a problem with important business tasks like financial negotiations. If we're held back by anything, it's only by that perception that women can't or shouldn't be playing hardball.
Never-the-less, women in the business world face all kinds of issues: the corporate gender pay gap, being passed over for promotions, even outright creepy sexism. Not to mention being actively discouraged from asking for raises. No wonder the U.S. is falling so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.
If this new study on financial negotiations demonstrates anything, it's that thinking of women as somehow inherently less suited to various aspects of business is just short-sighted and foolish. Women as a gender are not inherently bad at things any more than men are. Rather, women are held back by societal pressures, expectations, and detrimental socialization. If women are able to perform certain tasks well in certain scenarios, then the issue is not with women's ability but with outside factors.
In other words, it's time for the business world — and the world in general — to stop treating women differently. Please and thank you.