Back in the 80’s (when I first entered the corporate world), I was often amazed at how few female mentors there were. There were the occasional exceptions but for the most part I witnessed business women actually sabotaging each other’s career paths in attempts to further their own. I witness similar behavior today in the U.S. when women run for political offices and are often held up to different standards than their male counterparts. (If they’re raising a family, this seems to be especially true.)
Do you think times have changed? When I look at my mini-support groups (online), the vast majority of them are comprised of women. There are definitely men in my circles but when it comes down to needing someone to offer words of encouragement or to empathize with, the people that seem to be the quickest to volunteer to help me tend to be women.
What are your experiences? For the men reading this, I’d like to hear from you too. Now there are stand-out men in my circles who have helped me incredibly and I’m certainly not minimalizing (is that even a word?) their help. I actually have always found men to be very eager to help – much more than a lot of the women that I worked with in the for profit world. (The non-profit world was a totally different experience.) Could it be that men don’t generally feel threatened by women in the workplace? Are business women more competitive among women than they are with men? Have things changed or is it just me?
Do you feel that in this online world where we can reach out to people across the continents that it’s becomes easier to meet like-minded people who we can collaborate and work with? Is this new sense of togetherness and a willingness to help each other a reflection of the impact that networking online on social networking sites (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter) has had on how business women interact? Has Skype had a positive impact too?
This week, I want to give a shout-out to Marlee Ward who wrote the post “Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be a Chick in Business” on Tia Peterson’s BizChickBlogs. (Marlee’s article was the inspiration for this post.) Marlee has a few helpful links to information about women owned businesses and three inspirational tips for female entrepreneurs. For those of you who may have missed it before, you may also want to read my post “Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can Access”. Although a lot of the resources that I refer to are in the U.S., there’s a lot to be gleaned in the comment section too. (Hats off to the great readers here who generously share their thoughts and ideas.)