A colleague recently told me that he was surprised when a women he met at a networking event asked him if he wanted to go for a coffee, but added he would think nothing of a man asking the same question.
While this type of thinking has never occurred to me, when we know that a large proportion of new business and career opportunities are developed through networking, does this attitude limit women’s prospects?.
In its 2012 International Business Report, Grant Thornton reported that only just over 20% of senior management positions are held by women at a global level, warning that “a growing body of research suggests that such imbalance in the boardroom can be detrimental to business growth prospects”. This is further reinforced by another report, by McKinsey & Company, which found that firms with higher proportions of women in leadership positions tended to perform better on stock markets than those dominated by men.
As the roundabout goes round and round, men networking with men, what price do organisations pay for this attitude? I shall certainly be thinking hard about who I ask out for a coffee in the future.