Over the many years that we’ve been running women in leadership programs for several clients and multiple cohorts, results have been consistently positive with participants reporting continued career successes through applying program skills. They also benefit from access to a strong alumnae network of prior program participants. Since we’ve expanded our leadership development offerings to feature a wide offering of mixed gender programs – we often get the question: Why still run women-only programs? 

OGC is a research-based consultancy, and the research clearly demonstrates that women-only learning environments provide many benefits to learners. That’s because in learning environments with mixed genders, men have the tendency to dominate discussions, and women are more prone to censor themselves and contribute less. By providing a learning environment that’s solely for women, this dynamic is eliminated so it’s possible to foster a safer and more collaborative environment where women can speak and share openly.  

To get the best long-term results, we intentionally design our Women in Leadership Programs as progressive skill development workshop session that address the specific workplace challenges faced by women. We don’t focus only on managerial training – the goal is to empower all program learners regardless of their role so that they can better navigate the workplace and their careers for maximum growth. Group learning gives participants the opportunity to meet others who may be facing similar challenges in the workplace – and rethink assumptions they may have about their career or abilities.  

An integral aspect of the program is learning actionable steps that women can use in the workplace, such as tools like reframing, which helps to shift perspectives so that participants can better manage stress or difficult situations and conversations. After all, women are products of their environment and are not immune to their own unconscious gender biases that limits their potential in the workplace – such as the underlying assumptions of what it means to be a high-potential woman. For example, women oftentimes see self-promotion as a negative and selfish act, but by reframing the concept to something that can help their manager and team understand what they’re doing better, they’ll begin to see that there are more options available to them to solve the challenges that they face.  

We’ve seen countless positive outcomes for women that have participated in these trainings – including improved communication, confidence, and the importance of self-promotion for success. Women also build supportive networks with their cohorts and previous cohorts, giving them access to an alumnae network that provides mutual support and mentorship as they advance their careers. 

The ultimate aim is for women in our programs is to leave each training with the ability to navigate important challenges and questions about their career and how they want to grow, such as “what are the things that are impacting my career? How do I negotiate on a daily basis? What are boundaries I need to reconsider? What risks can I take?” 

The self-confidence and empowerment that women acquire give them a crucial ingredient for success in the workplace  – self-efficacy. This prepares them to implement the new skills they’ve acquired immediately – even just after the first session. With a clearer vision of career success, a personalized go-forward plan, and a new set of advanced leadership skills, women from our programs increase their impact on the organization. With the long-term business benefits that come from empowering women, the case is clear: women-only leadership programs are here to stay.  

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