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Tales of the Gender Pay Gap: Even Sheryl Sandberg Was Once Reluctant to Negotiate Her Salary

Topics: Negotiation

How strong is social conditioning that pressures women not to ask for more money? Even Sheryl Sandberg, during her first salary negotiation at Facebook, nearly undersold herself.

The author of “Lean In,” a book encouraging women to embrace success at work, Sandberg has done very little press in advance of publication. (Perhaps as the COO of Facebook, she’s short on time for chit-chat.) She did, however, sit down with 60 Minutes to offer a few anecdotes about the challenges in her career.

One of the most interesting was about negotiating her salary at Facebook. She was inclined to take Mark Zuckerberg’s first offer; her husband, Dave Goldberg, himself a CEO, convinced her to hold out for more.

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“Not because the money mattered so much, but it was the principle,” said Goldberg. “I wanted Mark to really feel he stretched to get Sheryl because she was worth it.”

How do women get the idea that they’re not worth bigger salaries? Some of it might have to do with the way adults interact with strong-willed girls during their childhood. Sandberg told interviewer Norah O’Donnell that she was called “bossy” as a child, and discouraged from exhibiting behaviors that, in a boy, would have been seen as positives.

“I want every little girl who someone says they’re bossy to be told instead, ‘You have leadership skills,'” she said.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Do you think social pressures make women ask for less money? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: techcrunch50-2008/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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