Networking has often been the most ignored element in a woman's professional journey. But, today as they are taking on higher roles and greater responsibilities in the workplace, they are asking for more. They have aspirations. "They are no longer comfortable with gendered experiences and want an avenue to discuss and share," says Sairee Chahal, Founder and CEO of women-only networking platform SHEROES.
A survey of 1,500 women conducted by online career platform for women JobsForHer found that a whopping 94 per cent of the women feel the need for more networking opportunities to rise to leadership positions.
Networking, particularly in the present time is suddenly gaining momentum and it is perhaps a lot simpler now to reach women from various parts of the world to connect, share, ideate and learn.
The reasons are simple. The networks offer tangible and intangible benefits. For women, they are safe spaces to share information about salary trends, job growth, and seek advice on navigating workplace challenge, personal-professional growth and access to a world of information and inspiration that they would otherwise not have had.
Also, science has shown how women network differently than men. They work well in smaller close-knit groups and form long-lasting, meaningful relationships.
Furthermore, 49 per cent of the women said the platform that enables them to showcase their leadership skills will help them seek senior positions in their organisations.
Interestingly, 32 per cent of women expressed the need for opportunities to interact with women from varied backgrounds and professions to bring in fresh perspectives and serve as a catalyst for change. 18.5 per cent of the respondents said that they'd look for a dedicated, engaged network of senior women to help reach leadership positions.
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Usually, many organizations enrol their high-achieving, rising leaders at world-class academic institutions in leadership development programs/courses, there are many non-academic clubs and organizations to which rising male leaders sought membership.
India Inc is taking note of this gap and there is a rise of women-only networking platforms. There are broad-based platforms such as SHEROES and Lean In. Then there are others that serve niche segments. HerKey and leap.club focuses on rising women leaders, WiT India aims to have more women in leadership roles in STEM while Women on Wealth encourages women to take charge of financial planning.
"Structured mentorship, sponsorship and networking platforms for women are important steps in this direction and a trend which will continue to grow to ensure the world has more women at the helm," says Neha Bagaria, Founder and CEO, JobsForHer.