Connectivity wields enormous power and influence. In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, networking can help people in a variety of settings, from getting a job to starting a business. Connecting and building relationships with other professionals keeps the vast majority of people ahead of the game.
When it comes to networking, while including people of all genders and perspectives is critical, there is a significant gender imbalance within the workforce that needs to be addressed. Globally, women make up just 18% of executives, 37% of the total workforce and 5% of CEOs, highlighting the wide margin by which men outnumber women at all levels on work place. In India, the percentage of women in the labor force stands at a meager 23%.
In such a scenario, building a strong, supportive, and vibrant network of relationships can provide women with key insights that lead to organizational redesign and successful business performance. Women who network can also learn strategies for asking for promotions, seeking fair pay, and even becoming mentors to others, creating a cycle of positive change for women in the workplace.
Personally, networking has been one of my greatest strengths and the importance of having an inner circle cannot be overstated. Despite having a large network, some of the most successful women also have a smaller internal network of women they are close with. It is important to have a support system in place that goes the extra mile in providing space for gender and equality issues to be discussed without judgement.
There is tremendous power in connectivity. Within the broader professional spectrum, it enables women to identify role models, mentors and expand their professional opportunities and restore balance by helping women create valuable long-term business relationships, listen to the advice of peers and professionals and share their knowledge and experiences, all with an emphasis on connection and collaboration.
The ROI of networking
Although testimonials suggest that women are generally more “social” than men, detailed reports establish that women network less than men. Women also have fewer opportunities to rise to leadership positions than their male counterparts. The reason behind this is also a classic case of unconscious bias – boys are encouraged and taught to network from an early age; girls just aren’t.
And these are not just numbers, but a reflection of how societies work. More importantly, it sheds light on how personal interaction shapes professional trajectory. Networking is a great way to build confidence, get advice from experienced players, discuss challenges, and even find solutions to problems from time to time. It also helps to open new windows of opportunity, support, sharpen communication skills and foster lasting relationships.
Support women’s networks
Despite all the progress that has been made in the corporate world over the past few years, unfortunately most industries do not treat men and women equally or provide support systems to help bridge the gaps. Joining smaller, more focused women’s networks can help normalize experiences, strengthen the talent pool, and give women a place to support each other.
Not only is such networking essential for fostering discussion of specific topics, but it also plays an important role in preserving women’s perspectives within organizations. In addition, it emphasizes participation, relationship building and allows women to make connections among peers.
Since most jobs are filled through networking, connectivity and building professional relationships can be huge long-term assets. Doing a little extra work by asking colleagues or managers for help or advice on networking can make a big difference in building relationships and improving job performance. As someone who has continually worked to create support systems for women at BYJU’S and who works alongside some of the brightest and most talented women, I firmly believe that it is in our hands to create a cycle of positive transformation. Breaking down the unconscious biases within us is a great first step towards this. It’s time for women to come together to build the trust, relationships and powerful inner circle that will help shape the leaders of tomorrow.