Many women expect to earn lesser than men and studies also show that this is a reality for most women. In 2020, women only make $0.81 for every dollar that men do.

When two women asked the question of why women were paid less than men, the answer was surprising. The answer according to Linda Babcock and Sara Laschevar is in the name of their book – Women Don’t Ask.

Societal upbringing, very real discrimination and glass ceilings at the workplace play a major role. But the surprising find is that women are not aware of what they can ask for. 

The book, Women Don’t Ask, is a well-researched and informative diamond mine that all women should read. 

Whether you’re a corporate professional, a student, or a mom starting an online business, negotiating is a key skill. 

Here are some of the top lessons from this book that will help you create better financial wellbeing and personal happiness. 

Women believe that the pie is small and limited

While external factors definitely influence the lower wage rate for women, women stop themselves from asking for what they want. Whether it’s money, time-off, bonuses, or remote work, women usually take what they are given. Or they make an ineffectual attempt to negotiate for more.

One of the main reasons that women don’t ask for more is because they think there aren’t enough resources for what they want. According to the book, women believe that there’s a very small pie and when they take a slice, the pie doesn’t get replenished. 

This is an assumption that often does not reflect reality. The universal problem is that there isn’t enough information about what the right pay should be for a job. This leads to many women thinking that they cannot ask for as much as they would like. 

Just the basic awareness of this issue may help a woman feel more comfortable negotiating.

They don’t set high enough goals

For many women, the problem lies in the fact that there isn’t information about the kind of pay and other benefits that fit a job. This leads to them setting low goals when it comes to their earnings. 

The book ‘Women don’t Ask’ shows several examples of intelligent, talented women accepting the bare minimum. The impact of this has severe consequences over a lifetime by reducing the total amount you can earn by the time you retire. 

One answer to this is to do your research before negotiating. Reach out to people in your network to find out what a fair salary is. You can also do online research to find out what the industry standards are.  When you’re doing the interview, use your own value proposition and the industry’s standard as strong arguments in your favor. 

It’s also a good idea to start by asking for pay in the higher range since negotiating downwards can be easier than asking for more.

In the end, the very act of negotiating can lead to better outcomes. And your goal is not only more money. Instead of a higher salary, you may negotiate for more remote work, stock options, maternity leave, bonuses, and other important things.

Women are strong in collaborative negotiation

Negotiations, in the traditional sense, often means taking the opposite position from the other person in an issue. This is an all-or-nothing and zero-sum game style of negotiation that rarely has positive outcomes.

Even if your side ‘wins’, there’s ill-feeling on the other side that can leave a bad taste. Women do have strong negotiating skills that often manifest when asking for something that benefits other people or a group. 

Negotiation experts Roger Fisher and William Ury encourage people to stop taking a position against the other party in a deal. Instead, look for common interests and shape your discussions around that. 

Women are effective users of this type of negotiation strategy where interests are discussed. They are also able to maintain pleasant relationships when a negotiation has ended, something that can have long-term benefits.

It’s helpful to approach personal and individual negotiations in a similar manner. Ask yourself how you can find common interests and you’ll be able to come up with solutions that make both parties happier. 


The title of the book Women Don’t Ask is its own summary. Being aware of the lessons this book provides can help women negotiate better. 

Doing research, being aware of what’s possible, and simply finding the nerve to ask for more can lead to improved finances that last for a lifetime. It can also help students, moms, and women in other phases or areas of life to negotiate in daily life interactions.

Use the points give here and ask for more; it will be life-changing.