Friday 2 December 2016

Katie Byrne: good girls don't ask

The gender pay gap develops long before women join the working world

Published 13/03/2016 | 02:30

Features writer Katie Byrne
Features writer Katie Byrne

I was in my early 20s when I got a job in a highly regarded women's magazine. It was an entry-level position with an entry-level salary, but it was a sweet gig all the same.

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Six months later, I worked up the courage to ask for a pay rise. According to the experts, there are dos and don'ts when it comes to requesting a salary increase. Employees should outline their accomplishments, avoid complaints and use direct language. I did exactly none of these things.

My pitch was a stuttering, muttering cloudburst of upward inflections and roundabout statements. I used the word 'deserve'. I think I even mentioned the price of taxis. The petition was met with a blank stare. My boss then closed her eyes, exhaled deeply and briefly lost the will to live. "OK," she said at last. "We really need to work on your negotiation skills."

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