Friday, October 24, 2008

Are Women More Reflective than Men?

I don’t mean in terms of reflecting light (haha) but in regards to wanting to think things through before moving forward.

I see a lot of support around helping women network or mentor but not as much for men. Is that because men as a group aren’t in vogue (having held the spotlight for so long)? Or because men are comfortable mentoring and networking even if it’s untutored or unrecognized?

I get a lot of men asking if they could come talk to me about those two subjects. But never publicly. And never as a group.

I do believe women are really great at pulling together a group - what I call being able to call together the kitchen table. They can create and foster a gathering where everyone feels supported and supportive and great discussion can occur.

I’m generalizing of course. I’ve certainly met my share of women at whose “kitchen table” I’d be afraid to ask for water.

Yet this innate ability to create an interactive table fails women when they put the word ‘networking’ in front of it. Men are comfortable networking but (again generalizing) hesitate at hosting a intimate and interactive gathering.

Is there really a gender gap on this issue?


Kathryn Lagden said...

Hi - Judy Gombita pointed me to your post. Interesting timing as two of my colleagues forwarded a Nielson report today about Power Moms being almost twice as likely to share advice. (scroll about half way down the page)

This would indicate many women are very good at sharing (in general).

When it comes to networking I think both men and women struggle with doing it effectively. Unfortunately I think you're right that there are more resources for women available.

Nicola said...

One point made at a class I attended (which was for women only) is that women are very good at promoting others, supporting others, and fighting for others. But they aren't very good at doing the same thing for themselves. Apparently guys are much better at putting themselves first and promoting themselves.

I agree that both men and women can find networking challenging and can benefit from resources to support them. But I also think that the resources geared towards women is a form of outreach and awareness to a group of people who can forget to take care of themselves before they take care of others.

dennie said...

Both excellent points - thank you Kathryn and Nicola!

1 - If women put others first and thus are excellent at sharing
2 - And men put themselves first and are unable to help others do sharing
Then what happens when men and women network together? LOL

My best mentors have been men - who shared and were exceedingly generous. Yet, I turn first to women for support.

It's in interesting debate.

Kristen Sukalac said...

I'm also here thanks to Judy Gombita. I once attended an excellent Professional Women's Network event on networking. The speaker/animator said that while women have extensive networks, they are generally shy about asking for what they want (due to socialization). To make her point about how effective adding that simple step to a woman's network, she offered her microphone to anyone in the room who wanted to ask for something and guaranteed that at least 2 responses would be forthcoming immediately. Women started coming and explaining their situations...and many useful connections were forged as others with solutions came forward.