April 8, 2013 by Kate Chaplin
After a lot of thinking and emails, private conversations and a general push…I’m starting a casual women’s group.
The purpose of these meetings would be to gather women together to have a safe place to talk about the every day issues that we struggle and strive at. It would be a meeting of the minds on what it means to be a woman and how to inspire the best in all of us.
The group itself will not have a specific religious underpinning, it’s open and inclusion to all faiths. I’m not planning on writing a book or make a documentary. All conversations would be confidential and held in the highest regard of privacy.
Children will be welcome. I have a 10 year old and a 5 year who has volunteered to play with any of the children who attend.
The group will be called WEB – Women Empowering Balance. Each of us interconnecting to form something bigger than ourselves. We do have a twitter @webswomen to follow as well as a private facebook page.
In the future I hope that this group does go public and we organize ways to help women’s causes and foundations gather our resources for a greater change in the life of girls and women around the world but first, let’s work on ourselves. Empower ourselves before empowering others.
Meetings would be once a month in a private home near Indianapolis, IN. The group will be invitation only (limited space).
The meetings to be the last Wednesday evening of each month.
Meetings have been awesome! We have a wonderful diverse group of women who are welcoming, encouraging and insightful. We have a great mix of women from ages 20-60, parents & non parents, single ladies to poly, corporate sector to homemakers. Everyone adds value. We got really lucky.
Our topics so far have been:
- What does society expect of us?
- Women in Movies with a focus on the Bechdel Test
- What Does Advertising Tell Women?
- Conventions: Slut Shaming in Geek Culture
- Homemaker Vs. Employeed
Start Your Own Chapter of WEB
I’ve had many wonderful emails, facebook messages and comments below of amazing women wanted to start their own women’s group. I applaud you ladies. Here are some tips.
* Create a private facebook group (or you can join ours Facebook me to join the Indianapolis one). This allows all members to post articles, memes and general advice seeking posts to a group of ladies they trust without the backlash. The FB page has been a great communication tool to keep a conversation going after a meeting, prep information before a meeting or create a poll to decide the next topic of the meeting. Invite women from your friends list and encourage other women to invite their friends and your group will grow.
*If you are not a fan of Facebook use emails. Create a list of emails to send invites to your meetings. See who is interested and see what Wednesdays work. We use WEB Wednesday as a helpful reminder. Our meetings are the last Wednesday of the month but you can work out any Wednesday. If you are going to send out articles try not to send emails to your group more than once a week as people’s email boxes get full and they will start to think the group is spamming.
*The key to this is to start with women you know. Those women will tell others and your group will grow. Don’t worry about advertising publicly at first.
*Find a private location to meet. Women are most likely to talk if they are not in a crowded restaurant or quiet library. A group leader’s home is best.
*For the meeting itself we have handout. This includes our get to know you questions (we only do this is there are new members in attendance) then we get into our topic. Sometimes there is an information spill and sometimes we go straight into questions and debate. Here is an example of our July meeting 2013 topic: What Ads Tell Women. Your group leader will want to have information and questions prepared ahead of time to keep the conversation going.
*The group leader needs to set a tone that everyone’s voice matters and that you’re all in this together. We can all learn from one another.
*At our WEB meetings we’ve started with consciences awareness of issues facing women. We’ve aired our own struggles. After 6 months we are now talking about activism and volunteering. See where your group is at. Don’t push to activism if they are not ready or informed on a topic.
*As always, let me know if you need any help or advice.