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Empowering Girls and Women: Bridging the Gender Gap in Networking

Having been away from home this week for work, I woke up this morning greeted by beautiful hugs from my children. I asked my daughter if she wanted to go out for breakfast before school, and her face lit up!

There's no one I'd rather spend International Women's Day with!

I want to teach her the importance of actively seeking out relationships. I want her to know how much engaging with others can help her grow and thrive. By doing so, I hope she becomes stronger, happier, more confident, and more connected.

I’m writing this here today as I hope to inspire ALL women to engage in connecting and networking more to address the persistent gender gap in professional settings (which has only been made worse post pandemic!).

Men often outperform women in leveraging connections for career advancement, partly because societal expectations value assertiveness and self-promotion—traits more commonly associated with men. Additionally, time constraints and family obligations contribute to this gap. I know that these factors can make women feel less inclined to prioritise networking, putting them at a disadvantage in accessing career advancement opportunities, mentorship, and professional support.

Research confirms this observation, with studies showing that women are less likely to engage in networking activities compared to men. For instance, a McKinsey study found that men are more likely to have larger professional networks and to actively maintain those connections, leading to better career outcomes.

To address this challenge, women should reframe networking as relationship-building, focusing on authentic connections rather than self-promotion. They can also seek out networking opportunities that align with their interests and values, making the process more engaging and rewarding.

International Women's Day offers a timely opportunity for women to invest in themselves and their professional development. By participating in events and workshops designed for women, they can gain valuable skills, insights, and connections that can propel their careers forward.

Bridging the networking gap requires a cultural shift to value and promote time for networking for both men and women.

I’m starting here with 11-year-old daughter, and I urge everyone reading this to empower the women in their lives to prioritise networking (and offer them the necessary support to do so). I firmly believe that together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable professional environment for everyone.

Happy relationships,


Julia Palmer a respected Relational Strategist and Chief Executive of Relatus, helping you develop your relational capabilities to give you the human advantage.



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