There’s been an explosion in the number of networking groups for women out there, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The business and work worlds have been dominated by men since the beginning of time so can you blame women for wanting their own Good Old Girls network?
I recently got an email from a spokeswoman for Commercial Real Estate Women network, or CREW, a national industry network for….women.
The group is
“aimed at furthering women in its industry, and has a number of programs that run ‘from cradle to grave’ to help women enter and advance their commercial real estate career success and prospects. The association offers its members professional development, networking, and several programs to encourage women, as young as high schoolers, to enter this male-dominated profession.”
Given this credo you’d think the last thing these women want is a male amongst them.
Well, it turns out men are not keeping their distance.
“In Cincinnati,” the CREW spokeswoman said, “we have a male board member, who joined the women’s organization as a way to further his own career, which I thought was an interesting marketing method. He is a male in a female dominated association, in a male dominated profession. Some may think it odd, but it’s really pure genius in this challenging market - professionals must do what they can to network and stand out!”
In fact, the group has a total of 272 male members, 14 who hold board member positions at local chapters.
Isn’t the whole point of women’s groups to bring together just women so they can help each other? Clearly, the idea of all-gal groups is catching on. WomenEntrepreneur.com’s Carol Tice talked about the growing trend in a June article:
When it comes to networking, apparently, men really are from Mars and women from Venus. In this post-feminist era, you’d think co-ed networking would work fine, but many women business owners say they prefer to stick to their women-only groups.
In the past decade or so, there’s been a boom in women’s groups that mirrors the growth in the number of woman-owned businesses
But now men want to horn in on it. Why? They can always go play golf and run the world without us.
CREW folks think having men among them is a good thing.
“Until men and women gain a better comfort level of working together and understanding how the differences we bring to the deal table can complement one another, we’re going to continue to work off of antiquated stereotypes and preconceived notions.”
A good point, but I can see the benefits of an all-female network.
I’m writing a column now for MSNBC.com on how bitchy women can be to each other when it comes to helping each other with career development or job help, so the fact that women’s groups are on the rise gives me hope.
Will my high hopes be dashed if men infiltrate their ranks? Next thing you know, these guys are going to want to come with us to watch bad “Sex and the City” movies.