I go to a lot of women only or women focused events. I even run my own womens development programme Why Women Don’t Play Golf. A question I sometimes do get asked is “why do we have to have women only events?”.
My answer is simple. We have to have them until we don’t need to.
Women still lack confidence in themselves. Yes I know that there are some women who are empowered and have a voice, but in general, women still don’t put themselves forward for things, don’t ask for pay rises or professional development and have a fear of being rejected if they do. They feel that they “shouldn’t be there” when they do reach the top and sometimes they become a victim of the “glass cliff”.
There is constant bombardment on social media of how women should be strong, courageous, visionary, go getting. Well what if you’re not like that? What if you’re absolutely brilliant at what you do but feel awkward about it?
Women’s only events provide a space where women can be recognised, meet like minded women and provide that support to each other to help each other up. Strength in numbers if you like.
The events and meetings I attend are not men bashing – in fact, I can’t remember an event where men have been trashed. I held a session at our HQ earlier in the year. It was for women and a man came along. I welcomed him as did all the women. At the end I asked him if it was what he thought. He answered that he couldn’t believe that it was such an uplifting experience for him. He hadn’t realised how women lack confidence and the challenges they face and it had given him a different perspective on women’s networking. He thanked me for not excluding him to the meeting.
When I hear people say that women need to put the ladder down for other women – I say, that’s going to take a long time. Why not build an elevator and cram it full of women. They’ll network and it’s a hell of a lot quicker!
Women don’t have lots of time. They can be carers, teachers, child minders etc as well as employees, entrepreneurs, business owners – so when they do “spend” their time, it needs to be done wisely.
So, in summary “Just for Women” is around for a bit yet and that’s ok!