Looking for a women's group to join, but not sure where to start? We've got you covered with 10 empowering women's groups worth joining — or at least knowing about.
Women's groups are empowering networks that are great for finding friends, business partners, mentors, coaches, support, or just some inspiration and motivation. Most women's groups usual exist to serve a sole purpose, such as to unite women in business or women in technology or women in university, for examples — and they typically hold events, conduct research and share resources for these women.
Here are 10 top women's groups you should get to know.
The American Association of University Women has been empowering "women as individuals and as a community" since 1881. It's for university women and helps them through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. The American Association of University Women has more than 100,000 members and donors, with 1,000 branches and 500 college and university partners.
The Association for Women in Communications is a professional organization for women who work in the communications field. With over a century of experience, the Association for Women in Communications is "a professional organization that champions the advancement of women across all communications disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era."
The American Medical Women’s Association is an organization for women who work in medicine. In fact, it's the oldest multispecialty organization dedicated to advancing women in medicine and improving women’s health. Its mission is to "advance women in medicine, advocate for equity, and ensure excellence in health care."
Women in Technology International is a trade association for women who work in technology, a heavily male-dominated industry. It started in 1989 as The International Network of Women in Technology and, in 2001, evolved into The WITI Professional Association, the world's leading trade association women in the industry. Women in Technology International empowers women through programs and partnerships that offer them networking opportunities and, therefore, connections, resources and support.
The National Association of Female Executives has been around since 1972, providing female executives with the education, networking and public advocacy they need to achieve success in their careers. Today, it is one of the largest women’s professional associations in the United States. Women executives, business owners, entrepreneurs and others committed to the advancement of women in the workplace make up the community.
The Financial Women’s Association is a professional organization for women in finance that dates back to 1956 with the partnership of prestigious institutions, government agencies and talented individuals. It was founded by a group of Wall Street women with the goal to help advance women in the financial services industry by bringing high-achieving professionals together. According to the site, the Financial Women’s Association is "dedicated to developing future leaders, enhancing the role of women in finance, and investing in the community." This entails attaining greater recognition for women's achievements in finance and encouraging women to seek careers in the industry.
The National Organization for Women is the largest feminist activist organization in the United States. It has 500,000 contributing members in 550 chapters across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It's been around since 1966, striving to achieve equality for all women through education and litigation. The National Organization for women focuses on a range of women's rights issues, such as the following, according to the site: "economic justice, pay equity, racial discrimination, women’s health and body image, women with disabilities, reproductive rights and justice, family law, marriage and family formation rights of same-sex couples, representation of women in the media and global feminist issues."
The National Women’s Business Council is a bipartisan federal advisory council that was started to serve as a source of policy recommendations for the United States Small Business Administration, Congress and the President with regards to economic issues that are important to women business owners. It fosters initiatives, policies and programs that are designed to support women in business, at all stages of their careers, in both the private and public sector marketplaces.
The YWCA is among the longest-standing and largest multicultural women’s organizations across the globe. According to the site, "the YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities." It serves over two million women, girls and their families, and it has more than 25 million members in 106 countries, including 2.6 million members and participants in 300 local associations across the United States.
Fairygodboss was founded to elevate women in the workplace by giving them an easily accessible online community of support. Fairygodboss offers advice on career questions women have — from how to ask for a raise to how to plan for maternity leave. And it offers company reviews by women for women, as well as a maternity leave database, so that women have all of the knowledge they need about companies in which they're interested. The community board is a great place to turn when women need questions answered or advice and support, as well.
According to the site, The YWCA is one of the oldest and largest multicultural women's organization in the world.
To start a woman empowerment group, you should find a cause of importance to you and other women you know. You'll first want to decide on your mission — whether that's to help advance women in STEM, educate girls in vulnerable communities to help bring them out of poverty, be a resource for women living with a specific disease or to do something else entirely.
Once you know what exactly it is that you want to do, and you have a mission statement for your group, it's as simple as creating a community for those women. You can do this by simply starting an online network of women on social media through channels like Facebook, for example.
Once enough people are interested in participating, you can hold events, start fundraisers and start thinking about how to turn your group into an actual organization.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.