If you have trouble negotiating, you're certainly not alone. And you're in good company.
Jennifer Lawrence just took to Lena Dunham's Lenny newsletter to pen a refreshingly candid essay about the Hollywood gender wage gap.
Lawrence wrote, "I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early" on American Hustle — a film for which her male co-stars were paid significantly higher salaries. The 25-year-old admits that it's difficult for her to successfully negotiate because she often struggles to find the right balance of assertiveness and gratitude.
She writes that this is a balance men often don't have to worry about:
But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.”
This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?
The essay comes a week after California's governor passed a bill holding state businesses responsible for proving that male employees aren't paid more solely based on gender. Reform like this is definitely necessary, considering research that shows women typically earn 23% less than men for the same job.
But Lawrence's honest words show that it's going to take more than a law to eliminate wage gaps. Society needs to address its skewed gender stereotypes before women and men can truly play on an even field.
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