You know how some women are afraid that if they toot their own horns, people won’t like them?

Silly, right?

Actually, no, it’s not. Research finds that this is, in fact, the case.

I recently wrote an article about self-promotion for GradPSYCH, an American Psychological Association publication, and what I learned was one big ol’ bummer.

Women face a double-bind. If they don’t promote themselves, they risk not getting ahead. But if women do promote themselves, they turn people off because self-promotion violates a stereotype. They are perceived as immodest.

Yes, men can come across as overly boastful as well, but the bar is set much higher for them.

This can add up to some serious losses over the course of a career. One of the most important career books I’ve ever read, Women Don’t Ask, cited a 2003 analysis that found that the average working woman can lose about $500,000 in wages by age 60 simply by neglecting to negotiate her salary.

The authors speculate that the gender gap in wages can be partly attributed to women’s reluctance to negotiate. But at the same time, research found that even such standard negotiating strategies such as bringing another offer to the bargaining table backfire on women.

Researchers now know that women are at a cultural disadvantage when it comes to self-promotion and negotiating. Now they are trying to figure out how women can self-promote and negotiate without being punished.

To learn more, please read my article “Are Men Better at Selling Themselves?

Photo by mirimcfly via Flickr (Creative Commons).