Women who communicate regularly with a female-dominated inner circle are more likely to attain high-ranking leadership positions, according to a new study that included a researcher of Indian origin.
The team from the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University found that more than 75 per cent of high-ranking women maintained a female-dominated inner circle, or strong ties to two or three women whom they communicated with frequently within their network.
For men, the larger their network -- regardless of gender makeup -- the more likely they are to earn a high-ranking position, said the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Unfortunately, when women have social networks that resemble their male counterparts', they are more likely to hold low-ranking positions.
"Although both genders benefit from developing large social networks after graduate school, women's communication patterns, as well as the gender composition of their network, significantly predict their job placement level," said Nitesh V. Chawla, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame.
"The same factors -- communication patterns and gender composition of a social network -- have no significant effect for men landing high-ranking positions."
For the study, researchers reviewed social and communication networks of more than 700 former graduate students from a top-ranked business school in the US.
"We also saw that inner circles benefit from each other, suggesting that women gain gender-specific private information and support from their inner circle, while non-overlapping connections provide other job market details," added Chawla.