Online with
Louise Ripley

Gender Issues in Management

Return to Course Syllabus


Networking for women arose partly out of women's experiences of being shut out of the "old boys" networks, for example when a job is advertised only by word of mouth to those known by the network. Women have also found that much of the important transfer of information takes place outside the office, at golf games, at lunches or dinners, at sporting events.

Barriers to Networking

According to Karsten (Management and Gender, Praeger, 1994)
too often, to the detriment of their careers
women believe the following to be true
"You should get a job because of what you know
not who you know"
"Using others is manipulative"
two sets of people joining a plug and socket

Benefits of Networking

Improved Performance
Help in career change 

Networking and Assertiveness

In many instances in many workplaces, women are left out of events, often just by oversight rather than by a deliberate effort to exclude her, particularly if she is the only woman on staff. Various excuses are offered, including that the men did not think she would be interested (hockey tickets), or they were going to a place that does not appeal to most women (strip club lunch). Consider how you would feel if you found out you had been left out of an important company even to which you feel you should have been invited.  

waving hand Exercise
Write out a line or two of dialogue in which a female manager would tell the men she works with that she was not happy with being left out of an important event at work. Try to sound both good-natured but also assertive.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Tips For Successful Networking

Have a wide network of a variety of people in different jobs, of different ages, with different skills
Grow and groom your network - be continually aware of where you need to improve, where opportunities exist for growth and renewal
Don't substitute "who you know" for what you know - keep your job performance at excellent
Don't abuse the goodwill of others; don't go to the trough too many times; don't think only in terms of what someone can do for you
Choose your networks carefully; don't just go to every event in every place offered; by the same token, don't keep your network too narrow
Don't wait to form a network until the day you need one; keep in touch with people you may need in the future
At a networking event, try to meet just 3 people; you can't meet the whole room so try for only 3 good conversations
Go alone to networking events, not with someone you already know
Learn how to give as well as take at networking events - find out how you can help others
Be a good citizen - Keep your promises, Help others, Volunteer - all these things are good to do and they also provide opportunities to meet people who may later be of help to you
Look in unusual places for possible mentors - people in very different jobs at your place of work, people in your church or community - get involved in these groups
Be respectful to every person you meet anywhere - you never know who will turn out to be helpful to you in some way
Be prepared at all times to say in 25 words or less exactly what it is that you do and for whom and what makes you or your company particular good at what you do

My own statement:
I teach marketing, women's studies, and environmental studies at York University, Canada's third largest and most interdisciplinary university.

Push yourself a bit - if networking is hard for you, remember that it is hard for just about everyone, and you get better with practice

Networking and Nurturing
It is sometimes said of networking that men tend toward mentoring and women tend toward nurturing.

waving hand Exercise
Versus Nurturing
What is the difference between networking and nurturing, in a corporate managerial environment and when is each appropriate?
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.

Networking is a good way to find friends and friendships between women, says a landmark study out of the University of California at Los Angeles, help counteract the stress that most of us suffer on the job.

Long accustomed to the belief that we all react with the traditional "fight or flight" behaviour, scientist Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now a professor at Pennsylvania State University and one of the authors of the UCLA study, said they found that women, especially those with children, tended to modify the "fight or flight" response and find other women with whom to stand. The study, reported in Taylor, S.E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B.P., Gruenwald, T.L., et al. (2000). "Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight", Psychological Review, 107(3), 41-429, said that when women do this, more oxytocin, a stress-relieving component, is released, producing further stress-relief. So if you are working (or going to school or both) in a stressful environment, find friends to help you through it.

Alligator River

This is an old story, an old exercise in ethical and moral decision making; I did not write it but neither do I know of any author. I include it here since so much of networking has to do with how you choose whom you spend time with, what kinds of people you surround yourself with. Answer the questions and then share your rankings in the Discussion Group. It can be done alone, but it is ever so much more effective if you do it with others so you can compare and discuss your answers. 
walking alligator

Once there was a gir
l named Abigail who was in love with a boy named Gregory. Gregory had an unfortunate mishap and broke his glasses. Abigail, being a true friend, volunteered to take them to be repaired. But the repair shop was across the river, and during the flash flood the bridge had been washed away. Poor Gregory could see nothing without his glasses, so Abigail was desperate to get across the river to the repair shop. While she was standing forlornly on the bank of the river, clutching the broken glasses in her hand, a boy named Sinbad glided by in a rowboat.

Abigail asked Sinbad if he would take her across. He agreed to on the condition that while she was having the glasses repaired, she would go to a nearby store and steal a transistor radio that he had been wanting. Abigail refused to do this and went to see a friend named Ivan who also had a boat.

When Abigail told Ivan her problem, he said he was too busy to help her out and didn't want to get involved. Abigail, feeling that she had no other choice, returned to Sinbad and told him she would agree to his plan.

When Abigail returned the repaired glasses to Gregory, she told him what she had had to do. Gregory was appalled at what she had done and told her he never wanted to see her again.

Abigail, upset, told another friend, Slug, her tale of woe. Slug was so sorry for Abigail that he promised her he would get even with Gregory. They went to the school playground where Gregory was playing ball and Abigail watched happily while Slug beat Gregory up and broke his glasses again.


Rank the five characters from most offensive to least objectionable where 1 = worst.


Abigail _____
Gregory _____
Ivan _____
Sinbad _____
Slug _____


waving hand Exercise
Alligator River
Rank the five characters from most offensive to least objectionable where 1 = worst. Post your rankings to the Discussion Group and briefly explain your reason for your ranking. (NOTE: There are no "right" answers). 
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.


Sheryl Sandberg's Book Lean In

waving hand Exercise
Sandberg Networking
How does Sheryl Sandbert's book Lean In help you further understand the topic of this unit?
Post your answer in the Moodle  Discussion Group.

Putting Theory Into Practice

waving hand Exercise
Lunch or Coffee
To truly understand networking, you have to do it. Invite someone you know or have been wanting to get to know to lunch or coffee and start building your network. Report on your experience.
Post your answer in the Moodle Discussion Group.
 arrow back to top of page

Return To Course Syllabus

AP/ADMS/WMST3120 3.0 Gender Issues in Management
York University, Toronto
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.