No Boys Allowed: The Reemergence Of Women’s Clubs

When I was nine, I joined my very first club: it was a book club that had only ten or so members–all girls I knew from school–but for me, it was a deeply formative experience, a place where learning and friendship were equally important. As we grew up, the club eventually gave way to far less formal Facebook friendships, but what I learned in the sanctity of that all-girls space continues to inspire me and inform me today. It is because of this experience that I’m so in love with the idea of the women’s club–and so overjoyed to announce that these girl-friendly spaces are on the rise.

Women’s clubs in the US were originally pioneered by African American women who wanted to have a cohesive way of checking in on the welfare of their community under the horrific conditions of slavery. After the Civil War, these trailblazing women brought the concept of the women’s club to the masses, and the template for girls-only groups caught on. With the rapid advancement of household technology, women suddenly found themselves with less housework and more free time, allowing them to leave the home and explore the fields of academia and social justice. Book clubs, study groups, and volunteer corps began to pop up across the United States, allowing women to meet and work with like-minded ladies and, as per usual, get shit done.

Nothing gold can stay, however, and women’s clubs went through a slump in membership from the 1920’s onwards: this was mostly due to the aging club population of clubwomen had a hard time relating to and recruiting from the scores of modern girls who spent their nights drinking bathtub gin and dancing the Charleston. While participation in women’s clubs never fully died out, public knowledge of such women-only spaces became scant…until now.

Enter the age of the modern woman.

Society has experienced the rise of the #GirlBoss generation, and the women who are trying to have it all–a career, a family, a circle of friends who know the transformative power of a good glass of rosé– need a place to take a conference call, to change outfits between plans, or to just sit down and relax. A women’s club provides all that and more: a way to give back to the community, a place to network, a dispenser of badly-needed Brazilian blowouts (no, really!). And it isn’t just elite, hoity-toity women’s clubs that are providing all these opportunities– women-only Meetup groups and free women’s clubs are on the rise too, providing support and opportunities for all women, regardless of their crazy schedules or tight budgets.

There’s something so magical about women from all walks of life banding together: whether it’s being with your best friends as you head to a party, or working with a team of women who all have the same goal in mind (looking at you, Lala contributors!), girl power seems to work better in groups. So, consider giving a women’s club a try: they’re found across the country and might just be the next step in your #Girlboss agenda.

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