I held my first deliberately 'women only' event recently. I've never thought of Similar Circles and the peer to peer networking/mentoring as unique for women. I'm still not convinced we need to separate the genders or the generations or the industries or or or...
The difference doesn't lie in our sex or race or economic status. It’s the difference between folks understanding what a personal community/network is vs. a database of potential clients. *sigh* There will always be those for whom the transaction, instead of the relationship, is a way of life.
Granted, there is the debate around whether or not those of the opposite sex must first go through the 'do I desire them/do they desire me?' before making a connection becomes comfortable. But given that a room full of only one gender does not mean there are no sexual tension issues, perhaps that debate might now be laid to rest as well?
I'm not implying that we've achieved gender equality here in Canada or anywhere in the world for that matter. Far from it. But, as regards the Similar Circles face-to-face events, are we helping or hindering by putting up boundaries?
I must confess, when I meet folks for the first or fourteenth time, my first criteria is 'are you a like-mind?'. I may also glance at their shoes but only out of curiosity :-)
Do you need women-only events if it's not on topics specific to women?