I’m looking forward to speaking tomorrow to the Orange County (NY) Chamber of Commerce Women in Business lunch. I never know which of the No Excuses Power Tools I’ll include in my presentation till I get there. But I always know there will be a lively conversation when I have the privilege of sharing ideas and tips with hundreds of women in business.
(This article, written by Jessica Dinapoli, appeared in the Times Herald-Record, June 1, 2012)
Most people would not pass up $500,000.
But many women do exactly that when they start their careers, said Gloria Feldt, an author and former Planned Parenthood CEO. Feldt is speaking at the Orange County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business lunch June 12.
Women leave a significant chunk of change on the table by not negotiating as aggressively for their salaries as men do in their entry level job, Feldt said. Being shortchanged from the get-go adds up over time and might mean a smaller retirement nest egg or less Social Security, Feldt said.
Taking a strong negotiating stance has a lot to do with power. It’s an issue women are ambivalent on, Feldt said. She wrote about it in her book “No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power,” which she will talk about at the chamber event.
Women are ambivalent about power because they know what it’s like when it’s used negatively, Feldt said. Women have been discriminated against and are often the victims of domestic abuse, experiences in which power is used against them, she explained.
“‘Power over’ means it can make you do something,” she said. “If you shift the definition of ‘power’ to ‘power to’ instead of ‘power over’… it’s positive.”
The Orange County chamber is working on helping more female business owners get certified by New York state, which opens up doors for government grants, said Carol Smith, the organization’s vice president for government.
Working mothers in New York state earn 14.6 percent less than men. In Orange County, that equates to a $118 difference in weekly pay between men and women, according to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. There are more than 10,000 households wholly dependent on mothers’ earnings in the county.
Feldt, who had her first child at 16 years old in rural Texas, struggled with her relationship to power after she left Planned Parenthood and became self-employed as an author and commentator.
It was easy to ask for donations or use her power for the Planned Parenthood cause but, she said, it’s more difficult to price her own services and say “No.”
June 12, 2012 -Women’s Leadership Fund of Orange and Duchess Counties in New York. Luncheon event sponsored by Chambers of Commerce and other groups.