Are there too many women only networking groups?
As a VA, I have numerous opportunities to network with fellow Virtual Assistants and these seem to be mainly women, as more and more women start up various businesses to fit around family commitments, the last couple of years has seen a huge surge in women only networking groups, which I have had the pleasure of being part of. However I do wonder how this is perceived by men?
In these times of equal opportunities for all, is it acceptable to have women only groups and what purpose are they actually serving? I have thought about this a lot, as I find that women do business differently to men. For me, the groups that I belong to are more of a support network that helps me to build my confidence. That really is the ethos of the groups and it works for a lot of women who, particularly when starting out, feel daunted attending meetings that may be very male dominated. I also feel that women award business based more on emotion than men do.
Many of my VA Associates work predominately with small businesswomen (not in the physical sense obviously!), is this because women trust women more or is it because women put themselves into those environments?
It would be interesting to hear the views of both men and women on this issue. Does it make good business sense for women to isolate themselves in this way? Those of you who are members of both ladies only and mixed groups, do you find a marked difference? Do you get more work from one over the other? Do you view the ladies groups as a support network and a mixed group more for conducting business?
Would women start getting agitated if as many ‘men only’ groups were becoming more commonplace? In the Northwest alone, the groups I know of just for women include: Forward Ladies, Women in Business (across all areas), Women in Property, This Lady Loves, Women Leading in Business, Women in the Boardroom to name but a few.
The face of networking seems to be changing quite rapidly. Is networking still an effective way to win business? What are your experiences? As a woman are you daunted by attending meetings that are derived of mainly men or do you feel uneasy with a room full of business women if you are a new start?