Women only make up 14.1 percent of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies and only 17 percent of the United States Congress, placing the U.S. behind both Afghanistan and China in women legislators.
Why aren’t women better represented in key leadership positions? Part of the reason is women's lack of negotiation skills.
Dr. Linda C. Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics at Heinz College and author of the best-seller, Women Don’t Ask and Ask For It
, and MJ Tocci, principal of Trial Run Inc. have just launched the first of its kind Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women to help women take the lead and become more effective in the workplace.
Under Carnegie Mellon University’s PROGRESS, Program for Research & Outreach on Gender Equity in Society, this newest certificate program, they say, can transform every women's ability to ask for what she wants, needs and deserves to be successful, influential and productive in all aspects of her life.
"I truly believe this will change the world," says Tocci who won the Athena
award last year. "Arming women with better negotiation skills won't solve all the problems in the workplace but I believe it to be the
intervention that will make the difference."
They will be looking at issues through two lenses, she adds. One is the negotiation lens and the other is the gender lens to appraise where things are different for women.
In a morning-long preview last Friday, participants were presented with the case of "Zoe Tronson," a fictional character with various career dilemmas. Zoe allowed the presenters from the faculty to showcase their specialty areas in solving her problems through multiple perspectives.
It's really about "creative problem-solving," suggests Tocci who understands that the word "negotiation" gives some women the heebie jeebies.
While negotiation in the workplace is typically associated with pay raises and money, it goes way beyond that to include a myriad of skills, from smart networking and being a leader among colleagues to managing one’s job more efficiently, she adds.
In some cases, as Program Coordinator Rachel Koch points out, negotiation means “not simply asking for a raise, instead, it's asking for the right resources."
The first class at the Academy will be open to 29 to 34 students and run January through May, 2013. It will feature 80 hours of intensive workshops filled with interactive group work and personal one-on-one learning.
Applications for the Academy were distributed at the preview and will be available online soon.
Writer: Alanna Haefner, Pop City intern
Source: Rachel Koch, Program Coordinator