Why is Lewes Women in Business for women only?
As a women-only network, LWB is designed to meet the business and social needs of women which we believe are different from those of men.
There is a strong business case for women-only networking and support groups such as LWB. A study published by NatWest Bank in April 2017, and our own market research amongst businesswomen in the Lewes area prior to setting up LWB, show that a serious gender imbalance still exists in business and small business. Both the study and our own evidence show that a lack of confidence* is still a major barrier to women starting their own businesses. Other factors which can discourage women from launching start-ups are:
- Fear of failure
- Lack of inspiring female role models
- Limited infrastructure in place to specifically support women
- Lack of knowledge of where to source information and advice about starting a company
Through LWB’s various activities we aim to address these issues and remove the many barriers female entrepreneurs face. Whilst members’ individual circumstances may vary, a number of challenges are common to many:
- Isolation as a sole trader running a micro business, often from a home office/studio
- Lack of regular access to like-minded people for brainstorming/mentoring
- Juggling work with family/domestic commitments
Lewes Women in Business is characterised by the following activities which our members tell us are what they value most about a women-only network:
- Safe, open and honest dialogue about the challenges faced by small business owners
- Supportive peer-to-peer discussions, providing sounding blocks for ideas, and advice
- Non-competitive sharing of skills and resources including affordable workshops
- Friendly, informal monthly meetings with flexible structure
- Members’ generosity leading to collaboration opportunities and creative solutions
To join our friendly and supportive network, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a membership application form.
New friends and contacts are just around the corner!
*In considering the lack of confidence many women feel prior to starting their own business (and which some continue to experience whilst in business), LWB offers another explanation for forming a women-only organisation. Undoubtedly, lack of confidence induces stress. The typical female response to stress, in evolutionary psychology terms, has been identified as ‘tend-and-befriend’, a theory developed by Dr Shelley Taylor and her team at the University of California in 2000.
This tend-and-befriend behaviour, in contrast to the primary male response to stress of ‘fight-or-flight’, explains why research shows that women are more likely to seek the company of other women in times of stress, compared to men. The behaviour refers to protection of offspring and seeking out the appropriate social group for mutual defence. If a woman’s own start-up business can be considered her ‘offspring’, then LWB believes the affiliative action of joining a women-only network for mutual defence against a common lack of confidence offers a plausible rationale to this FAQ.