Some paradoxical news for your Monday: A new study suggests the very traits our culture reviles women for exhibiting — confidence, aggression, dominance — are the same ones we need in order to be treated equally. At least in terms of getting paid.
“[The] study by business and management professors in the Netherlands and Israel suggests that nasty women — i.e. women who are dominant and disagreeable — are better paid than nicer ones,” reported Quartz this morning. “[W]omen who express their expectations and do not back down from demands earn more income than women who tend to acquiesce to others.” And then this gem: “Men, regardless of demeanor, earn even higher wages than both types of women.”
The study, which was published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, surveyed 375 men and women at a Dutch electronics company and asked participants whether they agreed with statements like “Some people say that they have never seen me angry” and used their answers to measure what they generally referred to as “dominance” in the workplace. Then they mapped dominance to pay and came up with this super cute little graph that’s not at all depressing:
This complexity — damned if we do, damned if we don’t — is kind of obvious, right? Lean in and “act like a man” (not that you should have to!) but also don’t do it too much because likability.
Maybe these numbers present a shifting of the tides, because they say, essentially, that being “nasty” pays. This is good! With a little gumption, perhaps we can close the pay gap sooner than the World Economic Forum says we can (they estimated it would take 170 years) (don’t faint).
Cool new item to add to all of our to-do lists: Be nastier.
While we’re on the topic of getting paid, some tips on how to ask for a raise.
Collage by Emily Zirimis.