When I was 11, my sister and I wore pink t-shirts covered with small round logos of pigs circled with the phrase, Male Chauvinist Pigs (MCP). We had matching MCP stickers that we stuck on my brother’s bedroom door although as far as I can recall, Bob had done nothing wrong other than be an 18 year old guy. It was 1972, the heady days of women’s lib, Gloria Steinem, my mom being on the Saskatoon Status of Women Committee and our older sister in law school. We were proud adolescent feminists.
It was great.
Last week (2017, some 45 years after I called my brother an MCP) I was invited to a women-only event for entrepreneurs. I replied with an admittedly snippy note that I find the idea of women-only events condescending and “1992”- I couldn’t say 1972!- and thanks but no thanks.
As Andrew gently puts it, I’m in the minority on the topic of events just for women. He also notes quite rightly that if most women found them offensive then they would dwindle away and companies, universities and professional firms wouldn’t host them anymore.
But my objections to them include:
How does it benefit women to network at events where 50% of the population is excluded due to gender?
Why is it okay for women to do what is now generally accepted as wrong for men to do: have a gender-based event? Are we that developmentally delayed?
If the topics are about how the workplace/business community can be more female-friendly, wouldn’t it make sense to have men in attendance to hear about it?