While we have a long way to go achieving gender equality for women – from equal pay to representation of women in the workplace – plenty of women-run organisations and groups are rolling up their sleeves up to give empowerment a boost.
These platforms and networks are plugging the gaps where women may not otherwise feel as supported, giving them the confidence to make choices around their career and personal life. Or, simply to belong to a community where they feel represented and nurtured.
Here is our rundown of some of the top groups, communities and platforms helping to support women:
Geek Girl Meetup UK - geekgirlmeetup.co.uk
The original was set up in Stockholm, but the UK chapter opened seven years ago, to meet a need in the tech industry: there just weren’t enough women around. They also noticed the lack of women on stage at events.
Director Cathy White says: “We have a network of over 7000 women, and host regular monthly events - these events can be on absolutely any topic but with a tech edge. We don’t host talks were women discuss the need for diversity (why preach to the crowd), but focus on skills, passion, knowledge exchange and building confidence - a much needed trait in the tech market.
“We’ve seen speakers use GeekGirl as their first speaking opportunity and go on to speak in front of thousands of people. And we’ve seen lots of women who were maybe unsure of their careers or training, take a big leap because they’ve been surrounded by a group of women who believe in them and say “yes, you can!’”
Young Women’s Trust - youngwomenstrust.org
The trust helps and supports women 18 – 30 in England and Wales who are on no pay or low pay, with free confidence coaches and help with CVs. It has been hugely helpful at getting women to think about a future they didn’t think was possible, as well as staying motivated.
Talented Ladies Club - talentedladiesclub.com
One specifically aimed at mums in the work place, it has many of reassuring videos for mothers returning to work, as well as helping women to realise and own their ambition in the workplace. Created by two friends – Hannah Martin and Kary Fisher, they were inspired by watching their mum friends struggle. Now it has a whopping 60,000 social media followers, a free Facebook group packed with information and live training online.
The Boom Biz - theboombiz.com
Created to support and help women over 50 who want to become their own boss, The Boom Biz has a closed Facebook group with over 2,700 women signed up. Set up by Alison Miles-Jenkins it provides a safe space to discuss concerns and share advice about how to start your own business.
Women Who - womenwho.co
Founded by Otegha Uwagba who quit her job to start this women’s network, Women Who aims to chiefly help women working in the creative industries. There are events if you are based in London, otherwise Uwagba wrote Little Black Book a resource to help connect and inspire women around owning their confidence. The website has helpful career and life-facing articles, lots of useful information in the newsletter as well as a podcast which features interviews with successful working women.
ToGetHerFurther - togetherfurther.org
An amazing online community which also connects women via events, ToGetHerFurther does what it says on the tin – advance and give women a boost in their careers. It’s part of a new way of networking – connecting like-minded women rather than milling around in an airless room drinking warm wine. A lot of it is run through their Facebook group, and founder Siobhan Kangataran says: “Taking any time off made me feel guilty, and yet no matter how long I spent in the office I felt like I was struggling to hold everything together.
“It took a couple of little wake up calls for me to see that something needed to change if I was going to avoid having a total breakdown, and I realised that if I felt like this then there was a strong likelihood that other women felt this way too, and that just didn’t seem right to me.”
The Girls Network - thegirlsnetwork.org.uk
The overall aim of the network is to inspire and help girls aged 14 – 19 from disadvantaged communities by connecting them with mentors and giving them access to role models. It’s UK-wide and helps young women who don’t feel very positive about their future. They have a 100% success rate in girls reporting that they feel more confident after being part of the network, and their teachers said 89% of them demonstrated more resilience and self-confidence afterwards.
Glasgow Women’s Library - womenslibrary.org.uk
Billed as the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to celebrating women’s lives and histories, it is part library, part historical archives and part event space. They offer workshops around the history of women and training around topics such as wellbeing and equality. They also have a ‘woman on the shelf’ initiative, where you can sponsor a bookshelf, section or just a book to help spread the message. It also allows women to volunteer which helps them to plug in to a wider community. One anonymous volunteer said: “Having not worked for a number of years it has given the confidence to apply for jobs and to build my confidence in a work situation doing work I really enjoy.”
The Coven - thecovengirlgang.com
An online membership platform dedicated to help women start and grow their own businesses, it was started by Sapphire Bates who launched her own business, and realised she could help other women to do the same. There’s a Facebook community of 500+ women as well as online workshops, and if you sign up for a membership which starts at £10 a month, you can have access to downloadable business plans, events calendars and live sessions.