Women Are Punished For Negotiating?

Last week I put this article from the UK-based Independent on The Professor Is In FB page: “Four in Five Women Could Be Missing Out on Wages by Not Negotiating Pay When Applying for Jobs.

Sure enough, the VERY first comment is from a (white) woman, saying, ” Women are punished for negotiating for pay the way that men do.” I say “sure enough” because virtually EVERY TIME I post or present content about ways that women sabotage themselves (due to the habits ingrained by relentless lifelong socialization in the patriarchy), a white woman will pop up to claim “we can’t do any different because we’ll be punished if we do.”

This video blog post is my rant in response.

And yes, I KNOW there are studies that show that women do negotiate but get less when they do. I’m sure that’s true. But more studies, and my own years of experience offering Negotiating Assistance help to over 100 women per year shows me that far more often, women truly don’t ask. I wrote a whole blog post about this phenom, called Negotiating As Therapy, and I make all Negotiating clients read it before we start work.

I want to be clear that of course white women and women of color cannot be lumped into a single category with regard to any professional pursuit like this, and I take seriously the cautions of black women in particular who have spoken about their struggle with the constant stereotype of the “aggressive/scary black woman.” And yet, limiting the discussion here strictly to my own work with women clients from a range of subject positions in Negotiating Assistance, the points i’m making in the video stay very consistent. Negotiating as Therapy addresses this directly. I also find it fascinating that it’s never a woman of color who leaps into the knee-jerk defeatism place. Only white women. What to make of that? It’s worth thinking about.

Last thing: I meant to address it in the video, but forgot. But …. “punished”?



It’s a weird, disturbing word, especially in its repetitive, fetishistic invocation. It speaks to the deep psychic wounds of patriarchy.

And yeah, we HAVE all been wounded, and that needs unpacking.


For info on today’s makeup look, see below!

Makeup look includes (aside from my beloved regular #MakeupMonday products described in previous posts):

Urban Decay Brow Blade Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil & Ink Stain

Urban Decay Brow Endowed

Charlotte Tilsbury LipCheat Lip Liner in Crazy in Love

Anastasia Dipbrow Gel

Pur Disappearing Ink 4-in-1 Face Concealer

It Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Volumizing Mascara

Beauty Blender THE LEVELER™ Pore Minimizing Primer

Similar Posts:

About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.