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How to go about asking for a raise? Depends on your gender

Employees of EnBW, an EDF subsidiary in Berlin, work at their desk 13 October 2003.
Employees of EnBW, an EDF subsidiary in Berlin, work at their desk 13 October 2003.

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The unemployment rate has been steadily falling and the economic health of the nation is much stronger. So everything is all well and good, right? Not quite for most of us worker bees out there who haven't seen their paychecks go up, despite working harder than ever. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group, wages have remained stagnant since 2000, while productivity has gone up 23 percent.

Is this a good time to ask for a raise? How should we go about starting that important workplace conversation? The answer to that question might depend on your gender, as women often find themselves having to also contend with gender stereotypes--of being judged either too pushy or too meek--when negotiating for a pay raise or asking for a promotion. It's a symptom of a larger wage gap issue. The city of Los Angeles released new figures last week finding that female employees earn 83 cents for every $1 paid to their male counterparts.

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Hannah Riley Bowles, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and an organizational psychologist whose research focuses on gender and career negotiation.

Alison Green, founder and advice columnist at Ask a Manager, a popular blog that deals with workplace issues. She is also a contributing writer at U.S. News & World Report