Professional organizations are fantastic for resources for networking, gaining new skills, learning about volunteer and mentorship opportunities, and generally sharing with ideas with others in your field. No matter what line of work you’re in, odds are there’s a group that’s right for you. Just as there are shortages of amazing professional organizations dedicated to blacks and Hispanics, there are scores of great ones for women. Read on for a list of 10 of the best.
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA): Operating at the local, national, and international levels, the AMWA strives to both help women advance in medical fields and improve women’s health. Activities include developing leadership, advocacy, education, expertise, and mentoring.
American Association of University Women (AAUW): With more than 100,000 members and 1,000 branches aross the country, the AAUW has worked since 1881 toward the mission of “advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.”
Center for Women in Business (CWB): This program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation empowers female business leaders in numerous ways, including “increasing opportunities for women to serve on corporate boards and in the C-suite,” “mentoring women at all stages of their careers, and “building a network for women entrepreneurs to encourage peer-to-peer networking, education, and professional growth,” according to the official website.
The Financial Women’s Association: Established in 1956, the FWA works to enhance the role of women in finance. Through partnerships with individuals, institutions, and government agencies, it pursues its mission: “To Accelerate the Leadership and Success of Women across the financial community in all industries, by advancing careers, fostering alliances and preparing the current and next generation of professionals.”
The National Association for Female Executives: Formed in 1972, NAFE is among the largest associations for women professionals and business owners in the country. Through networking, education, and advocacy, it aims to “empower its members to achieve both career and personal success.”
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO): As the “unified voice of over 9 million women-owned businesses in the United States,” this powerful organization aims to be “a one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.” The group formed in 1975 and has more than 5,000 members spread across 60 chapters.
National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW): Formed in 1935, this council of national African American women’s organizations and community-based sections seeks “to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities,” according to the official website. It does this via research, advocacy, and various programs centered on education, health, and economic empowerment.
Women in Technology International (WITI): Started in 1989 as The International Network of Women in Technology and, the world’s leading trade association for tech-savvy women boasts a global network of more than 2 million women. The mission: “to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity.”
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT): Comprising more than 600 companies, universities, government organizations, and nonprofits, the NCWIT is committed to correcting the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing. “NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers,” according to the website.
The Association for Women in Communications: Created in 1909 at the University of Washington as Theta Sigma Phi, the AWC works “to promote the advancement of women in all fields of communications, to work for First Amendment rights and responsibilities of communicators, to recognize distinguished professional achievements, and to promote high professional standards throughout the communications field.” The group offers leadership development, a national conference, and more.