Closing the gender gap: How we can prepare our daughters for the negotiation backlash

Before Sheryl Sandberg became Facebook’s chief operating officer, she had to agree to the terms of her contract, including compensation. Facebook’s founder and chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, had made an offer, which Sandberg, then vice-president of Google, thought was fair. They had been discussing Facebook’s mission and Zuckerberg’s vision for the future, and as Sandberg describes in her 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, “I was dying to accept the job.”

She had no intention of negotiating a higher salary.

“I was afraid of doing anything that might botch the deal,” Sandberg writes. “Was it worth it when I knew that ultimately I was going to accept the offer? I concluded it was not.”

But both Sandberg’s husband and her brother-in law told her to negotiate. Her brother-in-law asked her: “Why are you going to make less than any man would make to do the same job?”

She realized, “No man at my level would consider taking the first offer.”

Sandberg then “negotiated hard” and got a better offer.

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