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Professional Networking: Women Supporting Women - Executive Leadership Articles

Professional Networking: Women Supporting Women

Executive Leadership Articles

Professional Networking: Women Supporting Women

Last year, when Wonder Woman hit theaters, critics hailed it as a step toward better representation for women in a film genre that for decades presented women as temptresses, femmes fatale, or maidens in distress. Gal Gadot as the title character speaks 100 languages and leads men into battle, and the film’s director Patty Jenkins has become one of Hollywood’s most touted directors.

Some local theaters celebrated the groundbreaking movie with special, women-only screenings. Yet although the screenings were offered with the most positive intentions, there was a vocal (if tiny) backlash, an outcrying by men who insisted were being marginalized, discriminated against, or villainized. You know, like the female characters in far too many comic book movies up until then.

While it’s true that the backlash was kind of like complaining about not getting enough gifts at someone else’s birthday party, our point here is that for whatever reason, men and women exist in cultural spaces different from one another, so much that a woman in a lead role or in a director’s chair is something to be cheered.

Similarly, although we’ve made great progress in the working world, imbalances in representation, treatment, and compensation remain. For this reason, women may find it beneficial to seek opportunities to network specifically with other women professionals.

Many women professionals find networking opportunities in groups explicitly created for this purpose. Some are national organizations featuring many local chapters, while others are specific to professions or fields. Benefits include a web of support for needs particular to women in the office, plus they offer women’s perspectives on workplace issues and possibly the heads-up about egalitarian places of employment.

Another good place for networking is the nearest coworking space, where a certain getting-to-know-you vibe persists. Lately, there has been an increase in the number of coworking spaces dedicated to women clients -- sometimes existing as spaces-within-working-spaces reserved just for women. These coworking locations often have child play spaces and nursing rooms, as well as the standard conference rooms, copiers, and coffee.

It should be emphasized for male readers that nobody is suggesting anything be taken away from men. The idea is to welcome more women into women’s networks, something that makes our women colleagues and bosses smarter, better supported, and more included, which makes us all better at our jobs.

Reference link:
Washington Post story on women’s coworking spaces: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/new-co-working-spaces-offer-women-the-kind-of-career-and-child-care-help-still-lacking-in-many-traditional-workplaces/2018/02/20/34639a86-1282-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html

 

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Professional Networking: Women Supporting Women - Executive Leadership Articles

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