Stony Brook University Libraries concluded its celebration of Women’s History Month this Monday with a final lecture detailing how gender roles impact female success in the workforce.
Julia Bear, an assistant professor of management at the Stony Brook College of Business, discussed her research, which found that men generally outperform women in salary negotiations.
“Typically, women report greater anxiety than men,” Bear said to a small room of mostly women. “Men, often when asked to make an association about negotiation, their most common analogy tends to be playing sports… it’s competitive, there’s a winner and a loser, and at the end of the day everybody shakes hands and goes home. For women, their most frequent analogy is going to the dentist. It’s something you know you need to do… but it can be aversive.”
The audience hummed, nodding their heads in agreement.
“I think she hit the nail on the head,” said Dana Haugh, a librarian at Stony Brook who attended the lecture. “…I myself generally don’t feel comfortable negotiating, so it’s nice to come to a lecture promoting negotiations [for women].”
Bear discovered that while men were more likely to negotiate for a competitive starting offer, women were more likely to center their negotiations on workload and flexibility. The results also showed that men were better at negotiating for themselves than women were. Meanwhile, women tended to show stronger performances when negotiating on the behalf of third parties.
Although the gender pay gap has been a topic of debate for many years, prevailing evidence suggests that working women in the United States are still at a disadvantage.
According to a 2018 report from the American Association of University Women in 2016, women were typically paid about 20 percent less than their male counterparts. If you factor in race, the gap widens even further, with black and Latina women earning significantly less than white and Asian women.
Head of Access Services and Assistant Librarian Jennifer DeVito said she hopes the library’s Women’s History Month series was able to help shed light on this problem and other challenges women face.