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Women-only groups including ‘self-identified’ women

(19 Posts)
Seraphinite Mon 16-Nov-20 07:10:36

I’m self employed and have been considering joining some global networking/membership/community groups for women in business. Two I’ve looked at recently have purpose/ mission
statements relating to empowering women, and whilst their membership excludes men they include self-identified women.

It’s put me off joining and then I wonder if I’m cutting off my nose to spite my face. Has anyone been involved in a women’s group that includes self-identified women? If so, how was your experience?

OP’s posts: |
midgebabe Mon 16-Nov-20 07:27:09

My suspicion is that most just say that because they thinks it's the thing to do, but I have just decided not to join such groups, as if they wrote it with thought, then I don't think they want people like me

Alexandernevermind Mon 16-Nov-20 07:33:11

I wouldn't normally advocate joining a group to challenge their rules, but in this case I certainly would. Womens networking groups were set up to help women in business break through the glass ceiling that isn't there for men.
Actually the same argument could be made for absolutely any womens group.

Beamur Mon 16-Nov-20 07:33:16

I don't belong to any such groups. In your position, if you think there's benefits to be had - join the group. You can leave if you don't like it. I agree, it's tiresome for women to feel they have to include men.

Seraphinite Mon 16-Nov-20 07:33:38

Thanks for the perspective. It would be interesting to know if it is really intentional and well-considered or simply what they think is the done thing.

Also, the more I think about it the more I start to question where transmen fit into the picture. Are they welcomed with open arms into men-only groups, I wonder?

OP’s posts: |
Seraphinite Mon 16-Nov-20 07:35:52

Cross-posted with the other replies there, thank you!
I decided to email one of the groups asking to clarify if I’ve understood their position correctly (they actually have a question on their site ‘are you a woman or self-identified woman?’ and if you say no it says you can’t join). I’ve asked for clarity and an explanation.

OP’s posts: |
OhHolyJesus Mon 16-Nov-20 07:46:33

I joined one global networking group (was invited by a friend, think that's the only way in) to find the same. Very disappointed. I did challenge it in the mildest way. I suggested it be written as "women and anyone who identifies as a woman", but nothing.

It turns out it's full of handmaidens, but I made some friends who aren't and now I'm considering leaving.

ThinEndOfTheWedge Mon 16-Nov-20 08:37:08

To enable certain people to be male on payday and female on awards day...?

twoHopes Mon 16-Nov-20 09:32:39

are you a woman or self-identified woman?

The bizarre thing about this statement is that it's normally used in order to sound "right on" but surely making that distinction is actually quite terfy? Of course that assumes there's some sort of logical sense going on here.

If I were you I'd join and see what it's like. Don't get your hopes up about hearing any sort of feminist analysis (and expect to hear a lot of platitudes about women just needing to be more assertive). But chances are you'll find some great women who you can then make connections with outside of the official group.

nepeta Mon 16-Nov-20 13:03:08

This has to do with the new buzz word which is inclusiveness. It is beginning to sound like "we have no boundaries at all, please enter and take over our organisation and change its goals as you wish."

thinkingaboutLangCleg Mon 16-Nov-20 17:53:20

To enable certain people to be male on payday and female on awards day...?

Spot on.

As in sport: man's leg muscles, woman's medal.

FuzzyHeaded Tue 17-Nov-20 11:58:35

I am a member of a group on Facebook that describes itself as a space for "people who identify as women", and then glosses this as referring to transwomen, genderqueer women, and non-binary female-identified people. Based on previous responses to the topic of gender identity in the group, I do not dare to point out that their inclusive description does not actually include women who aren't trans / non-binary...

Alexandernevermind Tue 17-Nov-20 12:02:15

To enable certain people to be male on payday and female on awards day...? quote of the bloody year from @ThinEndOfTheWedge. I salute you.

nevermorelenore Tue 17-Nov-20 12:10:23


To enable certain people to be male on payday and female on awards day...?

I love this quote.

Most women's groups now seem to have a line in the small print that says 'open to anyone who identifies as a woman'. I got an email the other day from my uni alumni association about a new group for students and alumni of colour, and it has a similar wording 'open to anyone who identifies as being 'of colour'". I feel like if they put more than three seconds of thought into that they'd see its problematic.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 17-Nov-20 14:32:10


To enable certain people to be male on payday and female on awards day...?

Can be sung to the tune of Nutbush City Limits too!

NiceLegsShameAboutTheFace Tue 17-Nov-20 14:41:38

and whilst their membership excludes men they include self-identified women.

So ..... their membership doesn't exclude men then? hmm

ShadyBansheeThing Tue 17-Nov-20 17:15:50

There are things I would like to do that I now won't do because of this. So I haven't been involved because I'm self-selecting out of anything where I might come face to face with a smug male person surrounded by sucky-uppy women pretending they're a woman, and have to play along or leave.

I often see things "for women" that look interesting and check the small print and find it's actually self-ID. And yes I do think it's about people trying to be woke and inclusive and not be big bad bigots.

I went to an outdoor activity session last year (open to anyone not a women's thing) where the bloke running it got all tied up in knots trying to be woke. I asked if there was a toilet and he pointed to a building quite a distance away and said "the ladies is there". I made a slight eye-rolly type of face - which was meant to be funny, not mean! - just because it was far away and I was about to say "OK thanks, I'll run and be as quick as I can" when he started going "OH! Of course there's also the men's toilet - I mean - you must go in the toilet you prefer! - if you want the other toilet..." I said no no I want the ladies thanks.

I have short hair so I guess having read me as a woman initially (which I am) he suddenly panicked that I was trans or non-binary and would get him sacked for misgendering. In effect I just felt put out, because I'm just a bloody woman.

I was actually a bit sorry for him though. Running groups and activities where people you don't know turn up, and you have to get it right, must be exhausting and if you run something "for women" you are basically laying yourself open to bullying and harassment unless you accept everyone.

Just yet another massively crappy effect of trans ideology.

EarthSight Wed 18-Nov-20 08:17:11

@ShadyBansheeThing Absolutely. If they are self employed they won't fancy getting into a screaming match in front of everyone about it or be subject to vile attacks on their character or business by activists afterwards. I think it's terrible that our spaces have been taken away from us because of a few people's abusive behaviour.

AnyOldPrion Wed 18-Nov-20 09:18:22

My daughter is a lesbian. She says they have to organise in secret now, if they don’t want to have men in their groups. Very depressing that they have to, but it suggests that women faced with this stuff will gradually begin to organise again so they can have women only groups. It’ll be popular, I suspect, once a certain level of confidence arrives and women feel able to stand up for themselves more.

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