We have all heard the phrase “old boys’ network” and many of us have seen it in action. While the workforce has changed much over the past decades, this preconceived networking bias still impacts many professional women.
The good news is, woman have found workarounds via more structured networking opportunities than beer pong in the sports bar around the corner. (I don’t know about where you live, but you see a lot of that in New York…)
According to an LA Times article from earlier this year, “Female business owners — who sometimes have to work around entrenched, old-boy networks in order to expand their businesses — have found networking events to be particularly valuable.” Carmen Rad, the president of her digital printing company says, “There is a tremendous advantage to joining, and you can’t just join one. You need to join more than one because each organization will have a different added value.”
Recently, women-only networking has re-surged, particularly in tech fields, in an effort to compensate for the potential gender setback. But not everyone sees this as a positive trend.
For example, Women on Business recently published “Are Professional Women’s Networks Passe?” The post noted that female-only groups “come under fire for perpetuating the ideology that women need to be ‘fixed’ in order to be successful in the workplace… We have to stop bringing groups of women together to talk about what we know is going wrong. We have to convince our companies to stop fixing women.”
Ladies: Have you ever participated in a women-only networking event or group and what was your experience? If you haven’t, where do you do your best networking?
Men, I’d love to hear your opinion as well – do women get shut out of informal “social” networking in your business? Advice?
Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.