Ladies, have you ever felt anxiety about negotiating the price on a new car or a new house, or trying to get the best deal possible on a new job offer, worried that you aren’t going to be taken seriously in the negotiation and won’t be able to score the best deal? Come on friends, didn’t Sheryl Sandberg tell you to Lean in and Kattie Kay and Claire Shipman tell you to find your inner over-confidence. Act like the dudes and you’ll be landing sweet deals like they do in no time, right? In fact, if you’ve ever suffered from those sorts of insecurities, new research says that, well actually you were exactly right to feel insecure. Wait..what?
Researchers at the UC Berkley and Abby’s Alma Mater Penn have new evidence showing that women are lied to in negotiations more often than men. The study centered on a hypothetical real estate deal where one side of the deal had an incentive to lie about what exactly they planned to do with the property were they to purchase it. And according to the lead author of the study: “To women.. the buyer’s agents would say, ‘They will be luxury condos,’ but to men, they would say, ‘I can’t tell you.’” The bottom line? Men said they lied to women 24% of the time but lied to their fellow bro’s only 3%. Women though were also more likely to lie to women. Women said they lied to their sisters 17% of the time and to men 11%.
What’s more, in some instances the men were actually let in on the real skinny of what was going on giving them privileged info. This *never* happened with the women. And this is how bias works. This is what modern patriarchy looks like. No one said, women should get out of the board room and into the kitchen but the women were systematically more likely to be lied to and judged less competent than their male counterparts. This is good info to know and yes Sheryl Sandberg, it’s useful to have strategies to try to overcome these biases but the bottom line is, it’s not women who need to fix themselves, it’s all of us who need to fix a society that unfairly prejudges women.
And even if you *can* find some way to exempt yourself from the rules that normally apply to women through striking a power pose or feigning overconfidence or pretending that your children don’t exist, how is that going to make anything better for the next woman who comes along, assuming that she should have the same shot in this world as a man.
So instead of individually leaning in to our own advancement, how about we lean in collectively to changing the perceptions that are holding women back no matter how much they try to play the game like the boys.