Economic indicators are up, weekly unemployment claims have fallen dramatically and U.S. housing starts jumped up 12.1% in December.

According a recent Bloomberg article, Corporate Profits Soar, profits have grown 171% during the past four years and are at their highest relative level since the government began keeping records in 1947.

What do business leaders cite as the source of their historic profitability?

According to Bloomberg, “low labor costs in an era of high unemployment, the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies, and their own management savvy for the profit boom.”

Unemployment is down and profits continue to rise. The Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies remain in place. Management, however,  continues to exploit employee’s unemployment fears to keep labor costs low – that’s your salary – and their profits high.

You know what that means, right?

It’s time to negotiate a raise.

Here’s the rub for women.

First, we don’t tend to ask for assorted reasons, including the “blow back” we experience when we violate our gender role by asking for something for ourselves.

We’re presumed to be mothers, you’ll recall. Either pre-mothers, mid-mothers, post-mothers, or, most self-sacrificing and unconditionally loving, grandmothers. Even those of us who haven’t given birth often have step-children or nieces and nephews. We’re responsible for holding the family together which in turn holds the world together.

And that means we shouldn’t be asking for anything for ourselves or our fragile occasional peace and often strained care-taking duties will falter and fail.

So, please. Don’t underestimate the power of gender blow-back. These stereotypes – often accurate – are vital to most people’s sense of safety, comfort and well-being.

Now, one of the co-authors of the ground-breaking Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock, has co-authored yet another important analysis of women’s negotiation strategies with a focus on finding the ones that work.

by Victoria Pynchon

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Victoria Pynchon is an attorney-mediator and arbitrator. She is also a principal in the She Negotiates Consulting and Training firm for which her blog “She Negotiates” is named. In addition to writing for the legal blog “On the Docket,” Pynchon also authored the book “A is for A**hole, the Grownups' ABCs of Conflict Resolution.