In today’s world more than ever, women are called for unification. Different conferences, workshops, and events are hosted to honor them or to simply bring them together to honor something else.
It may sound obvious that since there are large efforts being attributed towards making these events happen, there must be something good that comes out of it, right? Unfortunately, the perspectives of people differ, and the opinion is not shared unanimously at all.
Critics, to this day, second guess the nature of these events, since if women already go there and participate, aren’t they all for women already? This perspective had been brought to the attention of Shawn Achor, who had been asked to speak at the Conference For Women.
He was more than glad to speak to these ladies, as the non-profit organizations who would be attending do make a difference in preaching and practicing equality and encourage female leadership and success. He had dealt with the cynicism of a stranger, which let him to research as to whether connecting women is actually as important as he had initially thought.
A packed audience during a Conference For Women event
Shawn partnered up with Michelle Gielan, the author of the best seller Broadcasting Happiness, and the Conference for Women with the intention of testing the long-term effects of bringing women together.
The sample consisted of 2,600 women who held positions of all functions and industries. They also were regular attendees of Conference for Women events across U.S. states. The variables that were under the test were the effects of the attendance as measured by several outcomes a year after. The control group consisted of women who signed up for an event but had not attended yet.
A scientific study proves that going to networking events can increase a woman’s career growth immensely
The two objectives under study, were positive outcomes as measured by salary raises and/or promotions (financial outcomes), and lower stress level, increased optimism and feelings of connection to other women (intellectual outcomes).
The results revealed that 18% of the ladies waiting to attend had gotten a promotion, in comparison to 42% of women that had attended events previously. This proved that the chances of one getting promoted after having attended the Conference for Women had doubled.
Moreover, only 5% the women who had not yet attended was found to achieve a 10% increase in salary, in comparison to 15% of the women who had attended. The likelihood of increase is triple in this area of improved financial outcomes.
The study would not have been complete without reflecting off the experience at the Conference for Women. A poll showed that 78% of the previous attendees had become more optimistic about their futures. This change in perspective accounts as the happiness advantage, which increases one’s positive intelligence as claimed by the researchers. One of the most important findings, however, was in relation to unification. 71% of previous attendees shared to have felt more connected to one another.
Relating to our peers is widely viewed as a major indicator of happiness, and social connection has also been found to be predictive of other factors such as health. By speaking to one another and making room for connection, it provides for an invisible shoulder to hand on, allowing women to feel powerful during times of difficulty.
The benefits of attending these conferences seem to outweigh the time, effort and even costs of being there. It is certain that not every single conference will yield such positive results, as that largely depends on the audience’s interest and level of engagement.
However, in cases of engaging discussions, it truly allows for a special bond of relation to be connected, giving the attendees hope in their future professional lives. The content of the conferences also makes a difference, as for example during some they have had speaker such as Michelle Obama and Brene Brown speak about more practical examples.
The women attendees were taught coping strategies for dealing with isolation at work, ways to move forward and get promoted, ways to ask for a salary increase etc..
The idea that we are not alone in something makes it all the more special and it moves us, encouraging us to pursue whatever our goal is. The speakers who attend are not only there as role models, but as women from whose success stories we can learn and make the lessons our own.
That level of inspiration is rarely experienced in such competitive environments such as our workplaces. The power of social connections is not exhaustive of one gender – all us people have this need to create relationships and bond.
Executives should be encouraging their employees to attend events and network, or even host them at their own companies. Organizational culture becomes a lot stronger when your human resources are all united and understood by one another.