Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to help Women negotiate

This could have been a great April 1 post, only, it isn't...

Holly Wilson (I think) writes 

"This is a jab at the insanity of sexism. So when you go to a meeting you can say, “alright, if all that separates us is a dick, then here is mine. Now lets get down to business, the playing field is level.” It is absurd that being a woman still garners unequal treatment and pay – so here is an absurd retort to that problem.

Though there’s humor here, there’s also a real statement, “here is what’s been keeping me from a job, or equal pay or fare treatment. Being devalued because of an appendage that I don’t have.” Bringing your dick to the table is all about you. It’s not going to change another persons opinion of you, but it can remind you that you are as good or even better and deserve to be sitting at that table, getting that job, making that same pay.

If you’ve ever needed that extra ounce of courage to compete, negotiate or just have your voice heard, this may be for you.

There are negative voices in our society, our culture, maybe even your own family that can corrupt your inner monologue. If holding a small bronze dick and laughing at those voices, those fears helps you overcome them, then why not?

This is not a symbol; it is just a humorous talisman to remind us sexism is ridiculous.

Lets move the mountain, make changes and laugh wildly!

Kickstarter Story

If all that separates us is a dick, then here is mine… Now lets get down to business.

Last year I was in a situation that brought me to this point here today.

I had worked out an agreement with a gallery to show my art and then after one sold he tried to change the terms. My heart and my feet went heavy; my lips went dry. I reached for my lip balm and zing! I thought I could let this take me over OR I could hold onto my “dick” and negotiate as the equal I am, not how he was treating me, like some kid who didn’t know any better.

And it worked!

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves we are equal and that we should be treated fairly in all we do in our life. Now I carry mine all the time for when I need that reminder and a little shot of courage.

This is about your inner voice

Your strength

Remembering you are more powerful than you know

And quite honestly I laugh every time I reach for my keys and touch my dick instead."

It's a kickstarter project

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Negotiate a Raise

After all the brouhaha about the women who apparently lost her offer after asking for better terms, the NYtimes has an article on "Moving Past Gender Barriers to Negotiate a Raise"

They write that:

"Some women may bridle — justifiably — at adjusting their behavior to conform to stereotypes. But the negotiation experts say that they think about these strategies pragmatically.

“These stereotypes will hold us back, so we might as well use them to move forward,” added Joan C. Williams, a co-author of “What Works for Women at Work.”

I like the

"Women also need to legitimize their requests, or find ways to make them seem more appropriate, according to a study that Prof. Riley Bowles and Prof. Babcock published in 2012. That means saying something like, “My supervisor suggested that I to talk to you about raising my compensation.”

I think the most useful may be:


Women tend to negotiate less for themselves than men, when there aren't clear standards on what they should be asking for, studies found. In fact, women worked longer and made fewer errors but paid themselves less than men did for similar tasks, according to another study. But that effect went away when women were given data on what others paid themselves."

I tell all my students that when they negotiate, they should first try to find out what is possible and easy at that particular institution, and what is hard.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Negotiation: Sometimes it hurts to ask

The slate has a nice story about "Negotiating While Female: Sometimes It Does Hurt to Ask"

" woman who says she was offered a tenure-track philosophy position at Nazareth College, a liberal arts school in Rochester, N.Y. She replied, she says, by emailing the selection committee:

As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier[:]
1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years.
2) An official semester of maternity leave.
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock.
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years.
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc.
She ended the email by writing, "I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think."

Their alleged response:

Thank you for your email. The search committee discussed your provisions. They were also reviewed by the Dean and the VPAA. It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered. Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you.
Thank you very much for your interest in Nazareth College. We wish you the best in finding a suitable position."

They then go on to say

" “It’s not that women can’t negotiate, but they have to be much more careful about how,” Babcock told me on the phone. “Men can use a wide variety of negotiation approaches and still be effective. But women generally need to pull off a softer style.”

The reasons for this are complex, but they boil down to “what’s normal, what the norms are,” says Babcock. “We’re used to seeing women being less aggressive, more soft. And when people don’t behave the way we expect them to, there are often negative consequences: You’d see similar social penalties if a man in a business context broke down and cried.”

I asked her what W could have done differently in light of the negotiation double standard. “Email is hard,” she replied. “It feels very direct, cold, and assertive, and it’s easy to misinterpret.”

Still, based on what we know, Babcock thinks W did a lot of things right. She expressed enthusiasm and showed that she respected the hiring committee’s constraints. “If a man had sent that message,” Babcock says, “I suspect it might have been dismissed as a rookie mistake. Rescinding the offer rather than just refusing the requests is horrifying.”"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Making german gender neutral

The guardian has a nice post on how Germany wants to make its language more gender neutral.

They write that

"Predictions vary: one suggestion is that Angela Merkel will eventually no longer be die Bundeskanzlerin but a neutral das Bundeskanzler, as she would be in English. Others believe that the feminine gender, already the most common fallback form used by non-native speakers, will become the default article: a policeman would no longer be der Polizist but die Polizist."

I can't see my fellow Austrians saying die Polizist. But on a positive note: 

Austria changed the words of the National Anthem, so now we not only are the country that is the home of great sons but the home of great sons and daughters...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Test Taking: New SAT

The new SAT will have one feature that stroke me as particularly interesting: as reported by the NYtimes:

"Some changes will make the new SAT more like the ACT, which for the last two years has outpaced the SAT in test takers. Thirteen states administer the ACT to all public high school juniors, and three more are planning to do so. The ACT has no guessing penalty, and its essay is optional. It also includes a science section, and while the SAT is not adding one, the redesigned reading test will include a science passage."

This might be a good thing when I think about Katie Baldiga Coffman's work:

Gender Differences in Willingness to Guess (Forthcoming in Management Science)
We present the results of an experiment that explores whether women are less willing than men to guess on multiple-choice tests. Our test consists of practice questions from SAT II subject tests; we vary whether a penalty is imposed for a wrong answer and the salience of the evaluative nature of the task. We find that when no penalty is assessed for a wrong answer, all test-takers answer every question. But, when there is a penalty for wrong answers, women answer significantly fewer questions than men. We see no differences in knowledge of the material or confidence in the test-takers, and differences in risk preferences explain less than half of the observed gap. Making the evaluative aspect of the test more salient does not impact the gender gap. We show that, conditional on their knowledge of the material, test-takers who skip questions do significantly worse on our test.

Apparently the ACT has a slightly lower gender gap in math than the SAT, I wonder if that is actually the case and whether someone looked at this.

I blogged about Katie's paper before (when she was still Katie Baldiga, here)

Monday, March 24, 2014


I'm giving a talk at the Social, Behavioral, and Experimental Economics (SBEE), Winter 2014 Seminar Series. Come by if you're in Michigan, it's from 3:30-5

I'll talk about Gender Differences in Competitiveness, and especially my most recent work therein

Buser, Thomas, Muriel Niederle and Hessel Oosterbeek, “Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices,”

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How to Fix the Gender Gap?

Uri Gneezy and Katie Baca-Motes write in Time: "Leaning In Won’t Fix the Gender Gap (Yet)"

I especially like their last sentence

"Don’t make the job interview more competitive than the job itself!"