Women-only networks set up to boost promotion prospects

Professional women are building careers and tackling workplace inequality
through all-female networking groups.

According to the think tank Demos, ‘new girl networks’ are challenging the
power of the informal ‘old boy network’.

Its report, Girlfriends in High Places, points to a growth in women’s
professional networks. It looks at how men use informal networks to get ahead,
particularly in hierarchical establishments.

In the Civil Service, women account for 26 per cent of senior posts, and now
have their own network for female civil servants.

Men still significantly outnumber women at senior level in most industries.
Women account for just 7 per cent of the senior judiciary and 9 per cent of top
business leaders, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Helen McCarthy, author of the report, said that women often miss out on new
challenges or promotions because they are excluded from informal male networks.
She also said the increase in the number of women working flexibly could be
exacerbating the situation.

"Flexible working has helped a lot of women juggle their busy
lives," she said. "But it may have put them at a disadvantage by
taking them further out of the loop at work," she added.


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