06/26/2014 09:32 am ET Updated Jun 26, 2014

A Harvard Professor Explains How Women Can Negotiate Better

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Hannah Riley Bowles, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has studied gender in the workplace extensively. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, she laid out the current state of research into differences between how men and women negotiate over salary, and how they are treated when they do. And these differences are sizable, she writes, since “in most published studies, the social cost of negotiating for pay is not significant for men, while it is significant for women.”

In other words, women sometimes lose, even when they win — they may get the pay raise they’re asking for, only to find their colleagues are less likely to want to work with them in the future because they’ve been deemed “difficult.” Therefore, Bowles writes, we shouldn’t be too quick to criticize women for being so much more reluctant than men to ask for raises: “Their reticence is based on an accurate read of the social environment.”

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