The lack of women in leadership positions remains a persistent social phenomenon. The aim of the paper is to investigate how networking is connected to leadership aspirations and examine women’s understanding and practice of networking as a career developmental skill.
Theoretical explanations around women’s lack of leadership has focused on women’s organisational constraints, their outsider status and the conditions of women within the broader community; however, what is mostly absent from research is how women’s relationships with each other influence opportunities for leadership. Women often experience the ‘glass ceiling’ at the mid-career level, therefore the research focussed on networking at the mid-career level in order to better understand how women draw on networking to help achieve their career goals.
This paper responds to the persistent challenges that women face in networking by examining how networks are created, understood, and enacted by women. This paper reports on recent research that investigated how a select group of mid-career women understood and practiced networking. The paper discusses survey and interview data to analyse how women’s way of networking may influence career aspirations and identifies ways that women can strengthen their networking in order to build capacity and mobility for leadership.
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