My company started a women in sales group recently. It is an amazing initiative that will have impact on our women in sales here at our company but also hopefully in our community, our city and maybe one day around the world. Most reactions to the formation and launch of this group are positive and encouraging.
Both men and woman are typically encouraging of the idea and about the group. Most support it.
BUT, there are those that question it. Most of those who question the group's formation are men.
Remember, most reactions to the group are positive. But, there are some men who have asked these kinds of questions:
- Why can't I come?
- Why do you need that?
- What is the point?
My reaction is always, because we need to and we can. I say because we need to make changes and empower more women internally and externally.
Men's questions about a "women in X Group" are usually around things like:
- What if the men in sales created a men in sales group? Go ahead. You can. Just like we did.
- Why do you need a women in sales group?
- What does this help with?
The questions go on and on like this...
So, men to answer your question out right.
It is because we are a minority.
There are far less women in sales than there are men in sales.
That is why we must speak up as women who are in this profession.
I care about this topic because I am a woman. Because I am a woman in sales who has seen what sales has done for me professionally and personally. I strongly believe that I can help expose more women who are not in sales to what it is like to be a woman working in sales. I also feel a strong desire to enable women in my company in sales to have a group that they can turn to and feel comfortable learning from and talking freely with. That is why. It is because we should and we can. We should care about getting more women into all kinds of fields. But, I specifcally care about sales because that is what I am in.
It is my duty as a woman who is successful in sales to be a spokesperson for women as a whole in sales. It is my personal mission to talk more about the profession of being in sales as a woman. It is because I want to change the ratio.
If you are a man questioning why your company forms groups for women to support each other, then I will assume that you are uneducated or uninformed about the topic.
That could be our fault. That might be because we typically don't out right talk about this topic. We step back and stay quiet. So when someone does speak up, it is seen as "too confident" or you might just question why they are doing it at all. You question us because we are strong enough to speak up. You are used to us not speaking up. Part of the problem lies with us. We as women need to speak up.
Instead of questoning why we are forming the group behind our backs, I urge you to ask questions directly to those women in your company who are creating and encouraging groups like this. Your fellow women in your company care about this topic for a reason. You should be supporting them for caring. If you cared about something you could take action too. You should feel free to voice your opinions and questions about this topic but instead of making us feel bad about it, empower us. We aren't trying to leave you out. You are the majority, while we as women in sales are the minority.
So instead of getting frustrated by your lack of knowledge around this topic I will continue to voice my opinions. I will continue to try and educate the men around me as to why we care about this topic. My natural reaction is to get frustrated but I think it is just because men really don't understand why we care. Ask us. But, when you do listen to us. Try to really understand why we need this women's group. Learn and listen to how the group will help your company to be a better place for women and men to work.
When men start to question why, a woman's gut reaction is to stand back, and back away. Don't do that to us. Let us be ambitious about this topic and try to make a change.
It is not easy to speak up as a woman. We quickly get hushed and so most women don't speak up because they are scared of what men will say. We are scared of being talked about so it is sometimes easier to just not speak up.
It is our job to make sure that men understand why we need more womens groups in our companies and our communities. We have these womens groups so we can support each other and enable each other to learn from each other internally and externally. This type of community will help us retain women in our company as well as help with recruiting more women to our company. This kind of community will help to expose more women to (for example) what it is like to be a woman working in sales in technology.
I personally don't have any friends outside of work that are women working in sales. None. But, when I think about my friends that are men I can say that all of them are in sales.
Why is that? That is why I care.
It is because I am lucky to have ended up in this profession and I don't want that to be the norm.