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Corporate women's networks are meant to help put more women in power. But they've caught a lot of flak in recent years for failing to deliver results. Writing in the Harvard Business Review in 2013, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox argued that such networks serve "more to placate women than to promote them." The best way to advance women in male-dominated industries, she wrote, is for the men who are already largely in charge to commit to creating more balanced teams. A Financial Times article last year echoed these concerns, warning of the dangers of "creating a female ghetto." Yet women's networks are a mainstay at many national and regional banks, from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon and Bank of America to KeyBank and PNC Financial.

A new report from the Financial Women's Association offers a more complicated portrait of women's internal networks. The March 2015 survey of 583 women in the financial industry finds that internal networks are succeeding in fostering women's relationships with mentors and encouraging diversity in the workplace. Still, the survey suggests there are plenty of ways that companies can make internal networks more effective. Read on for the biggest takeaways from the report.

Image: iStock



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