Why Women Need Women-Only Networks

Posted May 18, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Networking Buzz

Earlier this week, we talked about how to effectively network with men. But today, here’s another question: is there a benefit to removing men from networking all-together at times? I say yes, and one powerful woman agrees with me wholeheartedly. Forbes.com recently published an article called “Why Women Need Women-Only Networks” written by Stacey Gordon, Managing Principal of The Gordon Group, a financial and HR consulting firm. Not only is Stacey a leader in her field, she’s also a leader of women, as the former President of the National Association of Women MBAs. And she hits it right on the money:

I’m constantly asked the question, “why do women need to exclude men from their networks?”

My answer is simple. We need is a place where we can nurture relationships in a way that feels comfortable, a venue where we make the rules, and a private space that empowers us.

I dislike buzz words like “empowered” but when the shoe fits . . .

You might be tempted to attend networking events that are filled to the brim with 500-600 attendees from wide varieties of backgrounds, industries, and an even split of both genders. And while these types of events are certainly valuable to your networking docket, Stacy Gordon tells us that creating women-only networks is very important to rising to the top and being proud of our feminine nature. Stacy provides her own take on the reasons you might network with women in her article. Click here to read the full article at Forbes.com.

Other reasons you should network in a women-only environment?

  • Harness your openness. Women tend to go deep quickly. Instead of “Why are you here” type of questions, we ask “What is your passion” type of questions. This encourages openness and honesty and allows women to let their guard down and be vulnerable more than they might with more testosterone in the room.
  • Go beyond the board room. When men network, conversations tend to stay in the business realm. Women, on the other hand, wander to other topics – families, restaurants, workouts, and more. This encourages making friends, developing strong relationships, etc. and makes networking all the more valuable to your career and your life.
  • Bigger than yourself. It’s just a fact – women’s networking groups tend to have stronger ties to charitable organizations and volunteer opportunities. Networking with women will often give you an opportunity to give back.

So get out there and network, but think about adding to your networking dance card a few “women-only” events. And of course, log on regularly to Career Girl Network, your own personal “women-only” online platform!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."