Study finds a woman’s network may be key to gaining leadership roles

February 21, 20191 minute read

A new study conducted by Notre Dame University and Northwestern University found that “women who communicate regularly with a female-dominated inner circle are more likely to attain high ranking leadership positions.” The same was not true for male leaders.

As reported on, researchers reviewed social and communication networks of more than 700 former graduate students from a top-ranked business school in the United States.

The article quotes Nitesh V. Chawla, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame as saying “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.”

The type of network most often maintained by high ranking women is one that is completely or mostly female and one with whom the woman communicates frequently.

According to research, for men, “the larger their network — regardless of gender makeup — the more likely they are to earn a high-ranking position.”