Ask for it: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want

Emma De Vita reviews Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever's book on how women can get ahead at work

'Diversity' is a management watchword that's very much of the moment. The fact that the term is used to refer to anyone who isn't white, male and able-bodied says a lot about the people who coined it.

Women fall into the 'diverse' bracket, and much has been written about the inequality of the sexes in the world of work. Economics professor Linda Babcock and journalist Sara Laschever waded into the debate six years ago with Why Women Don't Ask, a book that sought to uncover why women don't demand promotions and pay rises. They've just followed up with Ask For It, which sets out how women can use the power of negotiation to get what they really want.

They write that "always getting what you ask for in a negotiation - always hearing yes and never risking no - means that you never ask for enough". Women need to learn how to push boundaries, they say.

So if you're a female manager in the voluntary sector, do not be afraid to set your ambitions high and ask for that promotion or major pay rise. As the authors write: "By asking a lot and setting high targets, you'll gain more than if you hold back out of fear that you might be turned down. You won't get everything you ask for, but you'll still do better than if you never ask."

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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