Leading girls’ schools send pupils on negotiating courses to get pay rises

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Telegraph

A group of leading girls’ schools is sending pupils on a negotiating skills course so they can learn how to ask for a pay rise,  The Telegraph reports.

The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) will enrol sixth form students on an “Asking Difficult Questions” course this autumn, aimed at helping them get ahead in the workplace.

Cheryl Giovannoni, who heads up the group of 24 independent girls’ schools, said that women are often timid about their achievements and lack the confidence to put themselves forward for pay rises and promotions.

“All too often when it comes to the world of work, women can develop what’s sometimes known as ‘tiara syndrome’,” she told The Telegraph.

“They wait for recognition, whereas men tend to be better at putting themselves forward to get what they feel they deserve.

“We want to help to build girls’ confidence and understand that ‘it’s OK to ask’. We need to rid ourselves of this idea that women talking about themselves of being a bad thing.”

Ms Giovannoni had a successful career in advertising – which included positions as president, managing director and CEO at various companies – before heading up the GDST.

She said that company bosses have a responsibility to recognise women’s achievements in the workplace, but teachers must also play a role.

“We hope by giving girls the skills and confidence to ask those difficult questions, they will create more positive outcomes for themselves and also help pave the way for future generations,” Ms Giovannoni said.

She said that girls must be taught from a young age about how to be confident and get their point of view heard.

“Negotiating skills are skills for life,” she said. “To different degrees and in different situations, you may use them every day.

“Whether it’s asking for that pay rise or discussing your development priorities so you are working on projects that inspire and interest you, to negotiating the terms of your mortgage or working out priorities with your partner or flatmates.”

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The negotiation courses will initially be for sixth form students, but there are plans to make them available to girls of all ages as part of PSHE lessons.

Among the GDST schools are South Hampstead High School in north London, which counts the actress Helena Bonham Carter among its alumnae, and Oxford High School where the pottery tycoon Emma Bridgewater and the actress Dame Maggie Smith studied.

The head of Francis Holland School, a girls’ school in Sloane Square, west London, has said that sensitive girls should be taught “banter” at school to toughen them up for the world of work. Lucy Elphinstone who added that young women need to learn how to laugh at themselves and overcome “the curse of the good girl”.

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