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'Women-Only' Mentality Can Lead to Segregation Rather Than Equality

Gender inequality exists, so it’s understandable that women are joining forces to empower one another. But when does it go from being supportive to morphing into a "women-only" coterie that isolates female workers from their male counterparts? We want equality, ladies, not a sorority.

 

gender inequality

(Photo Credit: EpicFireworks/Flickr)

Women have made huge strides over the decades. “In the United States and a number of other countries, women now actually surpass men in educational achievement,” according to a post on Harvard's blog, and recent studies show that women are also giving men a run for their money in the business world. Kudos to females who didn’t take “no” for an answer and who fought for an education -- because it worked! How about all those mothers who are defying the odds and successfully returning to the workforce post-baby, juggling a family and a career?

Thankfully, women aren’t just sitting around complaining about injustices; they’re turning it into fuel for their fire to achieve their goals. However, females seem to be setting themselves back in their efforts by promoting segregation instead of equality between genders. Just look at all of the sites, organizations, and blogs in existence today that are for women and women only.

For instance, there's Plum Alley, a crowdfunding platform specifically for women entrepreneurs, was featured in a PandoDaily article entitled, “A crowdfunding site for women has launched, whether we need it or not.” The author of the post, Carmel DeAmicis (yes, she’s female), argues that, although she’s just as apt as the next woman (or man) to support a great idea produced by someone of the female gender, she’s “not so sure we need a separate, distinct crowdfunding site just for women.” Our argument can best be summarized by a comment left by a male reader of the post, “Just a thought. Doesn't this goes against the very idea of equality and portray women as weak? I mean if I'm gonna help finance a project I really don't care about who did it and even less so about their gender. What I care about is the idea itself.”

There are also new women-only workspaces popping up around the globe, as highlighted in an OfficingToday.com article. Felena Hanson, owner of Hera Hub, a spa-inspired workspace for female entrepreneurs, says that her female clients “know they are in a safe [women-only] space with a trusted group of colleagues surrounding them,” but that’s not to say they don’t conduct business with men, too. Hanson’s business definitely seems considerate to women (and women only), but as with many other offerings catered strictly to women, it seems flawed in its message that women can’t or won’t feel as safe or supported if men are involved. Seems a bit sexist, right?

Women-only offerings can be beneficial as stepping-stones for women to ease back into the working world and possibly establish a support system, but as far as a long-term solution, we hesitate to say it’s a viable (or wise) option for women seeking gender equality once and for all.

In order to successfully close the gender gap, women must ditch the “girls rule, boys drool” mentality and start joining forces with their female and male counterparts. This is not to say that women should unsubscribe to all of their women-only clubs, but they should be careful not to convince each other that depriving themselves and their careers of male influence, on any degree, is healthy for anyone. Women will always turn to each other for support, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that one gender can survive without the other -- and that goes for all aspects of life. 

Tell Us What You Think

What are your thoughts about women-only business offerings? Are they more good than bad? Share your thoughts with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

1 Comment

  1. 1 John Atkins 20 Nov

    As a somewhat downtrodden male I think these women only "offerings" are a wonderful idea. Not only are they a wonderful idea in the business sense but they are also a wonderful idea in the community sense e.g women only library sessions, women only municipal swimming sessions, women only computer courses, women only car mechanic courses, women only municipal gym sessions, women only recruitment days, bring your daughters to work days etc.

    It will make the transition all the easier come the day that Sharia Law rules my country. Having lived under Sharia Law while working in the Middle East I know which ideology I prefer between Feminism and Sharia. Allah Akbar, as they say.  

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