The Compounding Effect Of Women Not Asking

September 10, 2019

Chances are, if you are a woman, you are not asking enough. But I’m not the first one to tell you this, there’s plenty of data that tells you the same thing. What I care about most is that we don’t just read the data and understand it, but that we actually act on it.

You see, I’m not only a woman — I’m also a brown woman. Some may view that as a double negative, but for me, I view it as a double positive. It’s given me the drive, capabilities, and tenacity to work smarter and to convert my perceived negatives into a positive. Starting from a first and last name not many people can remember (try pronouncing it!), to a funny accent that is a mish-mash of several cultures, I’ve started to use these differences that make me stand out as my ammunition for driving my ambitions forward. And guess what? More recently I’ve been using this ammunition as a way to be remembered, and I’ve been seriously harnessing the power of the ask.

Talking Money Doesn’t Make You Cheap

In my college years, I was obsessed with observing human behavior, and understanding why some people become successful and others don’t. What I learned was, there were two things that separated us. The first being self-awareness and the second being the simple act of an “ask”.

Later when I was working in HR, I was surprised to discover how many men actually asked for promotions, raises and so on (above and beyond women), and no disrespect at all to my fellow male colleagues, but I would sometimes find myself scratching my head questioning the ask itself. But yet, they always seemed to muster up the courage to unashamedly ask. I was in absolute awe! I too wanted to develop the kind of confidence it would take to ask for whatever I thought I deserved, even if it risked sounding silly to the person on the receiving end.

I spent years fielding the asks of multiple men (on average only 1 out of 10 asks came from a woman colleague of mine), and as a woman myself, I was still battling the awkwardness of me asking for what I wanted. I feared coming across as “desperate” or “cheap.”

It took me a long time before my internal light switch turned on. I realized that if I too wanted to get somewhere, I had to start asking, and so here I am.


What’s An Ask Worth?

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with a client on the power of asking, and it dawned on me that there was this incredible compounding effect of women not asking. It actually broke my heart.

Let’s take Lucy and Rajiv below as an example. Both start in their first job at the same salary level and on the same date. Let’s also assume that there were no gender differences in their starting pay.

When we do the math, it’s a $42k difference over a 10-year period – possibly even more! This massive difference in Lucy and Rajiv’s salaries is quite shocking if you think about the key difference being the “ask”.  

For the purpose of this example, I’ve assumed they stay in the same role doing the same job for 10 years, and so naturally if I took into account promotions, I guarantee the difference would be even bigger.


I Needed to Step Up. What About You?

Over the last 7 years of practicing how to ask, I am no longer ashamed to ask. In fact, often times I find that the person on the receiving end feels important when I ask.

And now that I’m not afraid to ask, because I know I deserve the outcome, I’m no longer focused on whether the answer is a yes or no. I focus instead on weeding through the no answers to get to the yes ones faster.

My boldest and most courageous ask to date was when I asked my friends and family if they were interested in investing in HumanQ. I literally asked 388 people, and before I knew it, I had exceeded my target. I raised $1 million in funding in just 4 weeks across 7 countries from friends and family who said, “YES!”

The way I see it – if I can do it, any woman can do it. So, if you’re a woman not yet asking, keep in mind that the compounding effect of not asking is much higher than the cost of asking.

So, what will you ask for next?

Nishika de Rosairo | CEO and Founder | HumanQ

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HumanQ is a live video platform for Group Coaching designed to create psychologically safe spaces that build engagement, connection, and impact at every level of an organization. To date, HumanQ has delivered to over 73 countries worldwide leveraging a global expert network of coaches to unlock human potential. For more information on the impact of group coaching with HumanQ contact us at

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