Women-only Programs The Negatives

Women-only Programs The Negatives

Women-only programs the negatives

'I have never participated in a program designed specifically for women although I have run programs that have been made up of all women and the dynamics of an all female group has at times created a "cozy" environment where some of the real issues faced can be/have been avoided or denied. I think women-only courses have their place in helping women to explore some of the issues they face. However, the real challenge is in developing effective working relationships with men and learning to Utilize their personal power and influence to be equal and yet different in their approach. The challenge is in remaining in touch with our "womanliness" and in not trying to adapt to male role models. Unfortunately, many women who are perceived as "successful" have lost something of themselves in achieving this.'

There are many questions to be asked about women-only courses - one of the main concerns being how they are perceived by others. Often such courses are unfairly labelled as inferior; that is, the women couldn't make it onto the real' training schemes which are implicitly run for men.

Other concerns raised included the following:

'Although I see the value of them, I have one concern: can they be seen as being discriminatory to men? Courses at senior levels seem to cause a lot of suspicion among the men - is the backlash worth it?'

'Is it a "real" learning situation? There are very few organizations without male managers and so it should be of greater value to learn together.' This point was made in one way or another by the majority of women managers.

'Women-only courses have never appealed, because they appear to be about training women to behave more like, or compete with, men.'

I would prefer to focus on traits which all managers have to develop to achieve success for their organization within a framework of equality. Both men and women have to learn these together and deal with any differences they might have as part of the entire learning process.'

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