According to a recent Times article, women are bad networkers. While I might agree with some of what was said, it's unfair to apply such an assumption to ALL women and ALL networking.
In the corporate environment I'd agree. There is also the possibility that women aren't in the sort of positions where networking happens as a means to get ahead. After all, the percentage of women in senior positions is considerably less than men. I often attended management meetings where in a room of twenty or so men, I was the only woman present.
In the world of the self-employed and small businesses, women play a greater part and therefore probably do more networking. There are more and more opportunities for them.
As part of Mums In Biz and the Mumpreneur Networking group and regularly receiving invites to many other women's networking groups, women most certainly do network.
Women don't network in the same way that men do, this doesn't make them bad networkers, they just do it differently. I'm sure most women wouldn't want to 'schmooze' their way to the top. That smacks much more of the 'old boy's network'.
Women are less likely to attend the more traditional breakfast networking meetings, as they're busy getting the children off to school at that time. They're also less likely to be able to leave the family in the early evening, when other networking takes place. Morning and lunch are popular times for women to network and that's when women's networking tends to happen.
They're also just as likely to 'network' with friends over coffee or at the school gates. They're more likely to be looking for collaboration and not see everyone else as competition.
Networking is (or should be) more about building and developing relationships not getting your sales pitch across and expecting a customer. This is much more comfortable to most women, who aren't as confident, especially when starting out. A few years ago I couldn't have imagined standing up in front of a room full of people and telling them what I do.
Women haven't been in the workplace for as long as men. They haven't had the opportunity to run their own businesses for as long. They're now finding ways to juggle being a full-time mum AND run their own businesses and they're embracing the world of networking.