Women earn less than men

Women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. This is as true in the nonprofit sector as in Fortune 500 companies. It’s also true in the Jewish community, where we claim to value equity and meritocracy. While the difference has narrowed – in 1967 women earned 58 cents to a man’s dollar — progress has stalled. At this rate, it will take 45 years to close the gap!

Gender bias affects hiring, titles, salaries, and promotions. Research tells us that women must perform 2.5 times better than men to be rated as equals. Resumes with male names are rated higher than identical resumes with female names. When orchestras started auditioning musicians behind screens, more women gained seats.

Negotiation matters

In the corporate sector, women have sued for fair pay. But given the family culture of Jewish organizations, litigation is unlikely to be used as a tool for change. So negotiation matters even more. It’s hard, in our mission-driven organizations, to challenge the assumption that “money shouldn’t matter.” But we can have noble ideals and still be paid equitably.

Start negotiating with your first job. While differences in starting salaries are usually modest, these add up over time. Every promotional raise and every new job is pegged to your pay history. Also, people with higher starting salaries win bigger raises throughout their careers.

Negotiation is not only about money, benefits, and titles. Resources like support staff, professional development, and program budgets can be put on the table. Workplace issues like flexible scheduling, telecommuting, and paid family leave are also worth negotiating.

Men and women negotiate differently

AWP has led negotiation workshops for hundreds of Jewish women professionals. We learned from Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, authors of Women Don’t Ask and Ask for It! Their research is definitive:

  • Men initiate negotiations four times as frequently as women. No surprise! Women compare negotiation to root canal while men see negotiation as a sport. Root canal or good sport? Mental models matter.
  • Women negotiate better for others than for themselves. When they negotiate for others, women perform equally as well as men.
  • Men are expected to play hardball. But women who play hardball are viewed negatively. Women need to negotiate differently, by being positive about accomplishments and committed to win-win solutions.

Learn from the negotiation experts

Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever recommend these best practices:

Build your case. How does the organization benefit from your work? Chart your accomplishments and show progress over time.

Research your field. What are comparable salaries at your level? Break the taboo around money and talk with colleagues about what you earn.

Set your target high. Ask for a much higher salary than you think you can get. And stay attuned to your BATNA – Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.

Bring multiple issues and interests. What besides salary can be put on the table? Flexible schedule? Support staff? Release time for conferences?

Consider the other side. Shift from a stance based on your interests (however legitimate) to common interests. What kind of agreement would benefit everyone?

Practice. Negotiate at home, at work, and whenever you’re purchasing a service. Role play with a partner for your specific negotiation.

Beware of delay. Anxiety may cause you to push negotiation day off, but when the day finally arrives, you’ll be emotionally frayed. Don’t wait too long.

Optimism is contagious. For women, warmth matters in negotiation. Create a positive, receptive environment.

Slow the process down.  If the first round doesn’t go your way, take a break. Let everybody digest the information. You can always come back for another conversation.


AWP can help you organize a negotiation training at your Jewish non-profit. Contact us!