The Gender Gap in Negotiation: How to Use Male-Female Differences to Your Advantage

It is often believed that men outperform women in negotiations. However, there is little research to suggest that this is actually true. The truth is that men and women simply negotiate differently. Men are generally seen as more assertive while women tend to be more accommodating. Men and women come to the table with different expectations, levels of entitlement, and self-interest, resulting in very different negotiating styles. The fact is, gender is not a good predictor of negotiation performance. It simply sets the stage for different behaviors and negotiating styles. 

Male Advantages

  • Males tend to convey more confidence in a performance-oriented setting than females. Men may even approach a negotiation less prepared than a female but use their confidence to their advantage. This may make a female doubt themselves, even if they were adequately prepared. 


  • Men tend to be more overtly aggressive than females and can use this psychological advantage when negotiating with women. They may use this aggressiveness as a tactic to make women feel inferior or self-conscious. 


  • Men are often competitive in nature and this competitiveness can help them maximize outcomes. They may push harder and fight longer in order to walk away with the “win.” 

Female Advantages

  • Women are excellent negotiators on behalf of others. They are inspired to help others, whether it be colleagues, customers, or their company, and this servant attitude helps them negotiate better outcomes. 


  • Women tend to be more cooperative, empathetic, and ethical, all of which are traits that build long-lasting relationships. This cooperativeness and willingness to work together gives women a unique advantage as negotiators. 


  • Women are naturally good problem solvers, another excellent trait that can be very beneficial at the negotiation table. Women can think creatively and out of the box to find solutions that better meet the needs of all parties involved. These strong problem solving skills can definitely work to a female’s advantage to negotiate a win-win deal.