But, the question is why should women seek out women-only networks? This recent article from The Glasshammer makes the case.
The answer is simple. Women’s networks are the one place where women don’t face questions about whether they belong or not. When gender is removed from the equation, questions of legitimacy are based solely on credentials. “When we’re not being judged by our actions, our speech, our tone of voice or our discussion of families and babies in business setting, we are able to put those perceived (and in many cases, actual) condemnations aside and get down to business” says Stacey Gordon, Managing Principal of The Gordon Group and former President of the National Association of Women MBAs.
Women-only networks provide women a safe place to address uncertainties and topics that might be uncomfortable to discuss with men (e.g., sexual harassment and pregnancy). “Like asking a man out or to be a mentor, you may run the risk the man might think you’re making romantic or sexual advances. Women feel more comfortable talking about these issues with other women; they don’t have to explain or justify them,” says Ida Abbott, founder of Ida Abbott Consulting.
According to Abbott, women also tend to form tighter knit groups based on stronger relationships. These relationships can be beneficial business networks in the future as women form business referral networks and send each other work and clients.
What do you think of gender-specific networking? Should it take precedent over co-ed networking?