Encouraging Networks And A Sense Of Belonging For Gender Parity

5/24/2016

While women face numerous hurdles in the business world, organizational leaders and managers can make a difference within their individual spheres of influence. For leaders and managers, working toward gender parity within their organizations is a question of engaging and empowering the women who work for them. One way to do this is to connect themselves and others to foster a feeling of pride and belonging inside of their organization and within their industry.

Leaders with this in mind can promote the growth of internal networks.

Social scientists have studied the impact of networks on professional success. Studies show that the more open one’s network – that is, the more functions, geographies and organizations its members represent – the more the person’s performance is likely to be enhanced overall. Open networks include not just social media followers, but former and current colleagues, members in professional organizations, and those in social circles outside of work.
Overall, active membership in open networks means enhanced relative performance, including compensation, evaluations and promotions. Yet research shows that women tend to resist networking, as it may seem self-serving, political and inauthentic.

If female employees are encouraged to expand their networks by being invited to networking events, attending conferences, and being offered involvement in employee resource groups, they can reap the benefits such networks offer:

  • High availability and diversity of ideas
  • Challenges to the status quo
  • Dynamic, shifting rules of engagement that lead to constant discussion
  • Unique perspectives and knowledge points
  • Holistic view of the world
  • Enabled connectivity across teams

Achieving gender parity in an organization is about creating a culture that promotes equality for all genders. When organizational leaders make an effort to give female employees a sense of pride and belonging, they bolster engagement, which benefits all.