The science behind women’s networking clubs

Angela de Souza takes a scientific approach to explain why networking helps women build connections and break down barriers

The science behind women’s networking clubs

Networking is an essential element in the world of business. It’s a bridge that connects individuals, ideas and opportunities. When women network, something remarkable happens — and it’s not just about forging connections. 

Networking is also about breaking barriers, fostering empowerment and driving progress. In this month’s article, I explore the science behind what occurs when women network. I will also explain why it’s a powerful force for personal and professional growth.

The Neurobiology of Networking

Oxytocin (Trust Hormone): When women network, the brain releases oxytocin, often referred to as the ‘trust hormone’ or ‘bonding hormone.’ This neurochemical plays a crucial role in forming social connections and strengthening relationships. It encourages feelings of trust, empathy and cooperation. It will help to make networking interactions more collaborative and productive.

Dopamine (Reward System): Networking can trigger the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. When women experience positive interactions, and receive support through their various networks, it activates the brain’s reward system. This, in turn, reinforces the motivation to network further and seek out new valuable connections.

Reduced Stress Levels: Building a strong network can reduce stress levels. Interactions within a supportive network can activate the brain’s relaxation response, leading to lower cortisol levels, which benefits overall well-being. This reduced stress can have long-term positive effects on health and career satisfaction.

Breaking Professional Barriers

Access to Opportunities: Networking opens doors to new opportunities. This covers a range of areas such as discovering job openings, or exploring collaborative ventures, or finding mentors. Women, who actively network, have greater access to a broader range of opportunities, thus helping them to advance their careers.

Knowledge Sharing: Through networking, women can exchange knowledge, insights and experiences. This information-sharing can be especially beneficial in male-dominated industries. 

Impostor Syndrome: Women, similar to many men, often experience the effect of impostor syndrome. This is a feeling of inadequacy, despite their achievements. Networking can help combat this by providing validation, support and evidence of one’s worthiness and capabilities.

Empowerment via Networking

Increased Confidence: Building a strong network can boost self-confidence. Knowing you have a network of supportive individuals, who believe in your abilities, can empower you to take on new challenges. Greater levels of confidence will also help you to assert yourself in the workplace.

Visibility and Recognition: Networking helps women become more visible in their respective fields. It’s an opportunity to showcase their skills, accomplishments and aspirations. Once again, this is likely to lead to greater recognition and career advancement.

Breaking Gender Stereotypes: Networking can help challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace. When women actively participate and succeed in networking events, they defy traditional expectations and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive business culture.

The Role of Women’s Business Clubs

Women’s business clubs play a pivotal role in facilitating these scientifically-backed benefits of networking. The clubs offer a structured and supportive environment for women to connect, collaborate and thrive.

Safe and Inclusive Spaces: Women’s business clubs create safe and inclusive spaces where women can network without the barriers and biases which sometimes exist in mixed-gender settings.

Mentorship and Role Models: These clubs often provide mentorship programs and access to successful women. These high-achieving women can serve as role models, while also offering guidance based on their own networking experiences.

Shared Experiences: The clubs foster a sense of shared experiences among members. This shared journey can enhance the oxytocin release, strengthening bonds within a network.

The science behind what happens when women network is testament to the power of connection and community. It’s not just about professional advancement: Other benefits include personal growth, empowerment and the breaking down of barriers. 

When women join together to network, they activate neurobiological processes that lead to increased trust, higher levels of confidence and greater motivation. They leverage these benefits to propel themselves forward in their careers and to challenge stereotypes in the workplace.

Business clubs provide a supportive and inclusive environment where women can network effectively, and empower each other to reach new heights. 

As women continue to build networks and foster relationships, they advance their own career opportunities, while contributing to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive business landscape for all.

Angela De Souza
Angela De Souza

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