Women who support women are more successful, research shows

Women who support women are more successful, research shows

In 2020, it's more important than ever for women to support women.

And indeed, research has shown that women benefit from mutual support and cooperation from other women in the workplace. To the extent that it can impact their success to a phenomenal degree.

But where do these results come from? A study published by the Harvard Business Review claims that women who have a group of close female contacts in their professional lives are more likely to secure executive roles. They also tend to exercise greater authority and receive higher pay rises.

The study found no correlation between men's success and the forging of an inner circle of close male colleagues.

What makes women more likely to succeed?

The research is divided. According to the study, women who are trying to pursue an executive position at work often face "cultural and political hurdles", that their male counterparts typically don't.

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And so, female employees who share private information about gender-related matters in the workplace such as a company's attitude towards female leaders are more likely to succeed. Doing so could help strengthen "women’s job search, interviewing, and negotiation strategies," the paper states.

"While men had inner circles in their networks too - contacts that they communicated with most. [...] We found that the gender composition of males' inner circles was not related to job placement," the study states.

The experts weigh in...

Jocelyn Greenky, an office culture and politics expert and CEO of Sider Road, says:

"There’s a new girls’ club that we didn’t have before because the workplace was largely male-dominated. Now that so many more women are entering the workplace, we’re finding our voice. We’re also building circles of trust with one another because we may be experiencing similar hurdles, and have each other’s backs."

Laura McGee, CEO of Diverso, adds:

"Across all our companies in multiple sectors and countries, we see access to networks as one of the key barriers preventing women from advancing. We know that women are under-sponsored by senior men, and may need to compensate by developing strong professional relationships with other women. My hypothesis on the research findings is that these women are effectively acting as mentors and sponsors for one another."

Female CEOs are keen to champion each other

Rebecca Wiser, cofounder and director of communications at Womaze, has also stressed the importance of building up other women.

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"Build other women up! If you see your co-worker doing a great job, give them credit…tell your boss or other co-workers. At first it may seem like you’re taking attention away from yourself, but you’re actually showing that you’re a supportive team player as well as an inspiring leader—and secure enough in yourself to praise others."

And if that wasn't enough of a ringing endorsement, Pam Kaufman, President of Viacom/Nickelodeon Global Consumer Products, has shared this advice she once received:

"Richelle Parham, the former CMO for eBay who sits on the board for Best Buy, once asked me, ‘Who is on your team?’ She didn’t mean people I managed, but who I had in my professional life that served as my support network. Taking Richelle’s advice, I began building my squad - people I could bounce ideas off of, go to for advice, pick me up when I needed a boost.

Today, my squad is so important for my career and my mental well-being. Not only do we support each other, but we act as connectors to people and opportunities. Whenever one of us comes across a great opportunity, we immediately send it to each other. It is amazing to be part of a group of women who want you to be your very best and actively help you to succeed."

Well, girls, looks like it's time to build your own squad!