old-boy network, the

the old-boy network

A network of privileged men who are members of the same organizations and institutions and who assist each other in professional advancement. When you graduate from Yale, you're not only getting a degree, but a priceless entry into the old-boy network.
See also: network
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

old-boy network, the

Social contacts among a group of insiders who help one another advance. The term old boy, originally British, refers specifically to a former pupil at one’s own public school, signifying a common background (upper-class male) and therefore a mutually beneficial interest. Although the practice of fellow alumni helping one another is much older, network was added only in the mid-twentieth century, when the idea began to be transferred to members of a social club, professional organization, business corporation, and other groups. Long an exclusively male province, it came under vigorous attack from about 1970 on by women who maintained it gave men an unfair advantage in the workplace.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
In the '80s, the division of labor between the two German art centers, Cologne and West Berlin, was still relatively clear: on the Rhine the market reigned, together with the old-boy network, the gossip, and the amusing atmosphere of chaos and mercantilist enthusiasm; the underground and counterculture movements as well as the official art boom operated at the international rather than national level.