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Girls and Negotiation 101

Professor and Girl Scouts Team Up


Resisting Girl Scout cookies just got harder. Linda Babcock, professor of economics in Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School, is working with the Girl Scouts of America on a pilot program that teaches girls negotiation skills.

Babcock's research focuses on the differences between men and women when it comes to initiating negotiations, as well as what factors hold women back from asking for what they want.  So, she set out to teach girls at an early age the kind of negotiating that's taught in professional schools.

"It's not the stereotypical, macho I-win-you-lose approach, but the cooperative style that's more productive for both men and women," said Babcock.

The Scouts loved the idea of helping girls learn to negotiate, and Babcock has teamed up with them to develop a "win-win badge" for Junior Girl Scouts ages 8-11.

To earn the badge, the Scouts will learn why and how negotiation can be useful. They'll observe adults in their communities bargaining, for example in flea markets, car dealerships or office situations. And they'll practice negotiation in their own lives, perhaps when it comes to chores or bedtimes — and yes, even cookie sales.

Related Links: Linda Babcock on Negotiation [.mov]  |  PROGRESS  |  "Women Don't Ask"

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