Summary of Women Don't Ask

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Women Don't Ask book summary


8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


The debate on gender equity often emphasizes that women earn less than men with similar experience. Authors Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever say that while women may indeed be the victims of external forces, they also to some extent may suffer from their own inability, unwillingness or aversion to negotiate or make demands. In fact, men negotiate four times as frequently as women, and get better results. Men are much more apt to make demands and ask for benefits, pay increases and so forth. Men make more money not necessarily because the system is overtly discriminatory - though it well may be - but because men demand more. The book tends to belabor its point, and sometimes the evidence does not seem as well-presented as it might have been, but finds that it sheds useful light on a knotty social problem. Perhaps it will spur more women to fight - or to continue to fight - on their own behalf.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What limitations women impose on themselves by failing to ask for money and benefits;
  • Why women do not negotiate as frequently or as effectively as men; and
  • How to get what you want.

About the Authors

Linda Babcock is James M. Walton Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. Sara Laschever is a writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, Village Voice, Vogue and other publications.



Glass Ceilings
Women earn less pay than men. They get promoted less frequently and they are offered jobs that are less prestigious, less powerful, and less remunerative. They hit glass ceilings that men go right through. Why? Not necessarily because the game is overtly rigged against them...

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