A New Kind of Old Girls’ Club – Still Thriving

By Brenna Kehew Sculley

by Celia Cooksey

Founded in 1975, Women in Government Relations (WGR) has emerged as a leading professional organization dedicated to propelling the careers of women in government relations, public affairs, and advocacy. With an unwavering commitment to fostering inclusivity and empowerment, WGR has established itself as a pillar of support for women navigating the intricate landscape of governmental spheres.

At their recent Professional Women in Advocacy conference in Washington, the air was filled with positive energy. Women at every table were chatting, swapping stories, along with tips and tricks to get ahead. The theme centered on how a fierce woman is multifaceted and self-aware and works to empower herself and others. This theme was pervasive throughout as the space filled with successful, professional women, evoked a Barbie utopia… pink was a popular color choice of attendees.

Creating these types of environments, exclusive to women, is to challenge the still persistent status quo. The term “old boys’ club” is one we all know well. Workplaces are social places, and building connections with coworkers is important. Employees and managers often discuss non-work-related topics such as sports, family, and hobbies in personal interactions that can extend beyond office hours – during lunch, coffee breaks, or the like. The question one Harvard study considered is whether these social interactions influence employees’ careers, and whether they can be partially responsible for the gender pay gap.

Women have a harder time than men climbing the corporate ladder. According to a McKinsey & Company report, among U.S. corporations, 48% of entry-level employees are women, but female representation falls to around 38% at middle management, 28% at the C-Suite level, and 5% at the CEO level. While improvements have been made over the last several decades, progress has been agonizingly slow. These gender disparities are what prompted groups like WGR to form and establish a networking infrastructure for women.

Offering a robust platform for networking and professional development, the organization orchestrates a series of specialized programs and events tailored to the unique challenges faced by women professionals. From insightful workshops to thought-provoking seminars graced by eminent figures in the field, WGR provides a fertile ground for the exchange of ideas and the cultivation of lasting connections.

Notably, WGR remains steadfast in its advocacy endeavors, championing the cause of gender parity and inclusiveness within the government relations domain. Through strategic initiatives and policy support, the organization continues to pave the way for the advancement of women, fostering an environment where talent and expertise can flourish unimpeded.

WGR stands as an indispensable beacon for women seeking to carve out their niche in the complex terrain of government relations, championing their professional progression and amplifying their voices in the corridors of power.

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