Why don’t women negotiate their salaries? Not #destroyingthejoint properly!

Many Australian women will recognise the Twitter hash tags #destroyingthejoint and #destroythejoint.  These arose after a certain Sydney radio announcer decided to let loose a vitriolic barrage against women in senior positions, claiming they were “destroying the joint”.  While I am sure Alan Jones probably would fit in well with the men found in articles I have previously written:

many Australian women (including, of course, yours truly) took exception to his tone.  It must be said that many men also took exception! A DestroyTheJoint Facebook page and a website have been established  by one particularly defiant female. A Twitter account is doing nicely!

Destroy The Joint

Destroy the Joint

The hash tags are in everyday use – if you are a Tweeple, search for yourself and see!

Today a Guardian article was brought to my attention.  As I reached the mid-way point of the article, I nearly retched my tea.  We all know that women still seem to earn less than men for the same jobs. Unless said woman is the CEO of the Westpac Bank – she earns ….. a lot.

Research has shown while 57% of the men surveyed had negotiated their starting salaries, only 7% of the women had done so. Women “just don’t ask”. Women accept the initial offer without negotiation.  This stunned me.  Naturally, after that point, even if every pay rise is the same percentage irrespective of gender, over the term of a working life the man is going to be that much better off! About half a million dollars better off, actually.

Women weren’t bad at negotiating in general – on behalf of the company, say, or for their children or friends – but they were reluctant to negotiate for themselves.

I thought this fitted the #destroyingthejoint hash tag perfectly: we need to DO something about this!  I was surprised my #destroyingthejoint sisters didn’t seem to pick up on it.  So surprised I’m writing about it now! 😀

We aren’t Destroying The Joint well enough!

I have personal experience, being a woman and all.  I admit I have rarely negotiated my starting salary.  In my current position I did.  What was different?  At the time, I was the breadwinner for a family of six.  I didn’t know when my husband may be able to start earning an income.  I had to feed us!  Yet single professional women are also breadwinners.  Even many coupled women are the main breadwinner.  I wasn’t alone.  Yet I have to say it felt odd to me. Different somehow. I didn’t feel comfortable.

Yes, women can be fierce protecting others: children, family, friends or staff.  We aren’t so fierce when it comes to protecting ourselves!

I have two step-daughters who originate from a patriarchal society.  I want them to be able to negotiate their salaries when the time comes.  This was an important epiphany for me, not just personally.  I have to make sure I give these girls the strength to negotiate for THEMSELVES.

Men are raised knowing they have to work all their lives.  While women have achieved much equality, perhaps we still don’t, deep down, see ourselves as the breadwinners and therefore we don’t feel the urge to negotiate.  I remember my own feelings about it.  I remember commenting to friends it felt odd.

Maybe we only have ourselves to blame for those lower salaries. We didn’t ask.  Could YOU be earning 7.6% more than you are if you had negotiated?

This got me thinking about gender equality in other ways. One I considered was Mr Abbott’s statement there was “a target on the PM’s forehead“.  Much has recently be made in the mainstream media about this being an indication of Tony Abbott’s perceived misogyny.  I am no fan of Mr Abbott’s: those who don’t believe me, please pop over to Where are the REAL Liberals? to see for yourself.

What if Australia’s Prime Minister were a male?  Would Tony Abbott have used the same phrase?  If he had, we wouldn’t be able to condemn it as his “problem with women”.  We should, in that instance, consider it an unacceptable Use of Language in Society, but not misogynistic.  Given his university days and at least one almost fisticuffs pub episode, I think he may have used the phrase irrespective of the gender of the PM.   I want to make it very clear, I am NOT saying Tony doesn’t have a problem with women.  What I am asking is if we want equality, perhaps we get it in ways we don’t particularly like sometimes.  I’m not sure we can choose.  I am using this as an isolated illustration only!

For those interested in an analysis of the treatment of the Prime Minister, I recommend Anne Summers “Her Rights at Work (R-rated)” addressing the topic of the political persecution of the Prime Minister.

18 comments on “Why don’t women negotiate their salaries? Not #destroyingthejoint properly!

  1. […] also been rapped over the knuckles by a DtJ member for daring to suggest women are partly responsible for the salary gap. In other words, damn it, I’m in trouble from both sides. Which I find […]


  2. […] the issue of women not promoting themselves.  This ties in with the article I wrote recently about women not negotiating their salaries and subsequently earning a lower salary than male counterparts.  Nicolle would be far better […]


  3. The great good in this is that it is spurring heated discussions and giving women more ammunition to take to the negotiation table… 😉


  4. I do agree with you Robyn. Personally I also just accepted my pay as it was, and finally after 3 years of being in a senior position to colleagues that were just starting out and I was training, I realized they were being paid exactly the same as I. It´s wasn´t fair I thought but it took me a few months to muster up the courage to ask for a raise, which I got.
    I think that had I been the main breadwinner or if my salary really made the difference to our lifestyle I probably would have to fight harder, but I´m always too soft…so would I have the guts to do it? I´m with you on Tony Abbott, he puts me off!


    • That must have been a tough few months while you mustered up the courage. Good for you! You got the raise!

      Thank you for sharing your experience, I think it is important that we look at this in a little more depth.

      Rose Powell says there are studies showing women who did ask suffered pay back in other ways. She is seeking out the studies for me as I would like to see those too.


  5. Hmm… I’m often shy when asking for something, because I don’t want to be a bother (it has nothing to do with my gender, the reasons are… different). Also, I tend to take things literally – if I’m told that the pay is so-and-so, I see it as the sallary being so-and-so, period.


    • Also, Angel, employment environments are different in different countries, of course.

      This particular article just brought this issue to the fore, for me. I don’t think it is necessarily applicable in all countries, but in those it is applicable, very interesting statistics.


  6. Perhaps women are grateful to get top jobs, hence why they do not negotiate on pay. Men expect top jobs hence why they do. I’m just glad to be out of the rat race 🙂


    • All I have to say to that is LUCKY YOU for being out of the rat race!!!!

      I can honestly say I’ve never felt grateful to get a job, but perhaps some do. I do think it is more we are raised not to “go into bat” for ourselves.


    • Agreed. Being male, I never negotiated my salary either. I love my profession, and most important criteria for me when applying for job or accepting offer has always been how interesting and exciting it is, salary was something you can improve later, when you prove yourself and feel right to ask for more.
      Things change however, and now that I have family,regardless of initial offer, I will definitely bargain for more, when/if I get into my next job interview.
      So, may be women just apply for jobs which they want and like to do. Also may be, most women see their salaries as supplementary to their husbands, so money is not as pressing issue as for men.
      In contrary adult (and responsible) men, being financial locomotives of a family, have to consider money in the first place.


      • I am with you on my criteria for accepting a job, personally.

        I also agree that many women have more choice or flexibility is salary expectations and also perhaps in some way swap dollars for felxibility re children and so on.

        I’m still stunned at the percentage differences though. 57% versus 7% is a massive difference!


      • No doubt it is a big difference, but my pint is, not necessarily a bad thing for women. If you read it as 93% of female applicants can afford not to care about salary too much, while 43% of male applicants have to take risk of bargain 🙂 Because bargaining about salary during job interview is also a risk, especially if there it is for lucrative high demand position, when every candidate tries to impress and prove how keen s/he is to get it.
        On the other note, is it just me, or is political debate between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot getting too personal.. so much that they started to resemble fighting husband and wife …
        In any case it is weird to see what has been unfolding in parliament over last few days, not something you would expect from top politicians on both sides.


      • On your take on the statistics: just goes to show the old saying is true, you can prove anything with statistics! 😆

        I have been saying for a while the behaviour of our politicians generally leaves a lot to be desired these days. Pyne and Tanner were nothing short of spoil, misbehaving children on QandA on Monday night.

        Unfortunately, the worst behaviour seems to be coming from my own party. Very demoralising.


  7. One of the Core Needs outlined in the book, Healing Deevelopmental Trauma, is autonomy. The underlying problem is that people with this issue have been raised to feel guilt or fear at making a stand for themselves. It takes a great deal of self-awareness and courage to overcome any of these embedded issues. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”


    • I don’t think being raised a female is by itself a trauma Karyn. The statistical difference was too great to be just women from traumatic childhoods.

      This is a major gender difference, I believe.

      I am not sure it is fear, generally. Guilt maybe, as I agree that subtly women are raised to think of others first and we take that into adulthood and the commercial world.


  8. Maybe we were raised from birth to “be nice” and “accept our lot in life” and all that other good rot. This destroy the joint person sounds like the Australian version of our American Wind bag – Rush Limbaugh, who was, in my opinion, not born but sneezed out of the nostrils of a Jackass with a bad head cold.


    • Ah, yes, we have heard of him: for all the reasons you state! You have a few others too, like the one who believes women have ways to shut down pregnancies from “legitimate” rape.

      Sadly, we have more than one too.:cry:


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