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Womenology: the science of succeeding without men

It’s a widely-spread fact that women have fought for their place as men’s equals for centuries. We’ve had several waves of feminism; first to be able to vote and study, later to earn the same salary as men and combine the arts of working and being a mother. But some women have decided not to include men in their battle to become as evenly valued as the opposite gender. A new movement of power ladies has taken the stage and men are not part of their strategy to get to the top.

At the start of the Obama administration in 2009, over two thirds of his staff were male, leaving the females to be a minority in a men’s world. That’s why they decided to support each other in meetings and other conversations using a strategy called ‘amplification. When a woman made a statement, other women would repeat her words, therefore crediting its author. And it worked: the female staff was called in private meetings with the President more often and in Obamas second term, there was a 50/50 balance in men and women.

And there are more examples of females joining forces to neutralise the influence of men. The Wing, a co-working space in Brooklyn, only welcomes women as members. At this office/living room/chill space and meeting room women work on their corporate careers together. The Wing is not the only women-only co-working space in the USA, more female entrepreneurs believe in the vision of connecting and empowering women in an environment where the existence of men is invisible.

In the Netherlands too, females are gathering to work and conquer their place in business together. In Amsterdam alone, event and meeting platform Meetup has over 40 women-only clubs registered. These Meetup groups are mainly focused on coding, tech, UX and entrepreneurship, aiming to transform these men’s worlds into ‘boss babe’ paradise. A striking fact: Meetup has zero men-only groups registered in the Amsterdam region.

As seen in these examples, there are different strategies to be heard as a woman. Emancipation is about men and women having the same rights and foremost being equally valued. This ‘erasing men’ movement shows a radical vision on emancipation; men seem to have lost their position as preferred equals and therefore possible ‘partners in crime’. Their existence is acknowledged, but involvement is seen as unnecessary.

For me there’s a big question rising: what happens if men were to start these same sorts of collectives, ruling out women? Are these sorts of initiatives only accepted when there’s a misbalance in power? I’m very curious to find out what these women-only initiatives will accomplish in the forthcoming years, because I’m convinced there will be more of them.



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