It's a Techie Life Society

Net result is success

Anila Alias   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Over the years, the workplace has become a great equaliser. Excellence in work and dedication are not gender-specific. However, since women multi-task, not many of them have the time to socialise or network with their peers or colleagues. Is the lack of networking hindering their career? How important is interacting with colleagues and peers, to exchanging information and developing professional or social contacts? What prevents women from networking? Can the situation be changed?

“By building strong networks one is expanding one’s sphere of interest and influence. This seems to flow more naturally with men who use every opportunity to network, it could be gym mates, tennis buddies or a bridge group. Much of the networking happens after/ outside work. Perhaps this is why women tend to think of it as too much of an effort – I have priorities at home that I need to take care of.

“Many of my colleagues in the west step out with their male and female friends/colleagues for a drink at the end of the day before going home to take care of their personal commitments. They have a finer work-life balance and are consciously part of professional networks – some of them online. But a woman in our part of the world wants to get home ASAP after work!” says Sindhuja Varma, who works with an MNC in Technopark.

Some of the lack of networking seems to be caused by restrictions put up by the women themselves.

“While our society is restrictive for us women, at least some of these boundaries are ‘self-inflicted’. These boundaries are set to ensure we balance both personal and professional lives and fulfil obligations in the multiple roles that we may be called upon to play,” says Anila Alias, Manager – Product Information Development, IBS.

It’s not that women aren’t aware about the fact that networking is the key to open doors to career growth and business opportunities. Connecting with the right people during such networking sessions gives an opportunity to explore options outside of our work place and also collaborate for products and services that could complement the growth of the people and companies involved.

But most women inherently do not make an equal effort as men to network, on a professional front, believes Hema Menon, Centre Head, UST Global, Trivandrum.

Also, there is a world of difference between men and women when it comes to networking. It is often found that women tend to network more on a social front, looking for some common background and some level of comfort.

However, women’s forums and groups are making concerted efforts to change the scenario. For example, regional chapters of organisations such as IWN (India Women Network) and eWIT (Empowering Women in IT and ITES) are making some conscious efforts to bridge this gap by establishing networking platforms for women at various levels.

“Women are too busy dashing in to work and dashing out in the evening. In the space between, can I also dash out for an hour or so to meet other women and men in common programmes that offer the opportunity to network? This is working well as eWIT calendar plans a programme every other month.

“While women in senior positions make a conscious effort to build their networks younger women tend to rush back to their work after an event and miss out on the opportunity to network. In this context, I can see the tremendous value platforms like IWN can bring in for working professionals,” adds Sindhuja, who is also the vice president of eWIT Trivandrum chapter.

Also, companies have groups such as NowU (Network of Women’s Ussociates) at UST Global and World of Woman at IBS that focus on improving the interest of women to network more professionally. As most of them said, networking is a platform open to all. It is all about finding the appropriate platform. “I have seen some networks budding around the coffee machine in the pantry!” says Sindhuja.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 5:10:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/net-result-is-success/article5757404.ece

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