Sorority Girls.

by Risa Green


I got set up recently with a new friend – it was one of those things where we had a million mutual friends in common, all of whom thought we would really like each other, but somehow, our paths had never crossed. She’s funny, I was told, and smart, and she’s a writer, too. You’ll love her.


I’m usually a little wary of set ups like these – a lot of times, it just ends up being a situation where I get trapped into listening to someone’s idea for a book – but this time, that wasn’t the case. We did get along great, and we did have a lot in common, and she ended up being someone I could see becoming a real friend. But she also had an idea, which was, it turns out, the real reason for the set up. Her idea was to bring together a group of like-minded, working moms in similar fields, on the theory that we could all help each other get ahead in our careers. Part support group, part networking group, part therapy session, she pitched it to me as a kind of sorority for working moms; a self-selecting group that would always be there for each other to provide a contact, to lend an ear, to be a sounding board. My initial reaction: I don’t think so.


It’s not that I don’t like the idea – I do. In theory, I think it would be fantastic. A group of working moms helping each other to get ahead? What could be better than that? But then I think about the experiences I’ve had with other women in the workplace, and I just can’t help thinking that this idea has no chance of ever working out.


When I was a summer associate at the law firm I eventually went to work for, there was a young associate – about five years older than I was – who hated me. I don’t know why. I had barely ever even spoken to her, but for whatever reason, she made it her mission to sabotage me as much as possible. A few years later, when I went to work as a college counselor, the backstabbing among some of the women in the profession was unbelievable. What I noticed, more often than not, was that many of the women were fighting with each other – subtly, of course – to be the alpha female. If there was a chance to trash talk a colleague, they took it. If there was a chance to beat someone else to the punch, they took it. If someone went on maternity leave or had to take care of a sick child, or had to leave work early for a mammogram, forget it. The men wouldn’t dare complain about any of these things (at least, not in the open). But the women? Bring it on. There was no sisterhood, no female bonding. Work, at least as I saw it, was like being in an all-girls roller derby, except that nobody was playing for the same team.



Within the first or second meeting, you will know whether or not this group is for you. Trust your internal voice. Being part of this group could be one of the best decisions of your life.


Sometimes you get lucky ... I have dinner with 3 other mothers from day care. I love our group. They're the best of what can happen - support, sounding board for work/kids/husbands, winos ;-) Maybe it helps we're in 4 different fields? Maybe it helps b/c our political views are similar? There are other "working mom groups" I meet now and then, but they're not the same. These gals hold this working mom together.

Mommie and the City

Unfortunately, I still find the cattiness very much alive and well in the workplace. Don't get me wrong, for every five B's there is a great comrade to be found. Like you, my first thought about a Mom Sorority is "No Way," but who knows. Maybe your experience will reignite faith for all of us :-). Good Luck!


One day a man was sitting in a park bench when a woman strolled by. She told the man that she was thinking about moving to this town and wanted to know how the people were in this town. He asked her how they were in the town where she was currently living. She said that they were back-stabbing gossips who never did anything for each other. He said that the people in this town were, sadly, the same way.

The next day the same thing happened and he asked the same question. This woman said that in her current town the people were fun, funny, supportive of each other. The man replied that she would be pleased to know that the people in this town were, happily the same.

'Nuf said


For about 6 years I had lunch every 3-4 months with a great group of women that served that same kind of purpose. It started when I met a woman I really liked and we had lunch. The next time we each brought a friend that also worked in a public service field and would be a "good person to know." Each lunch at least one person brought along somebody new who might or might not become a regular part of the group. I still keep in touch with all the women and the group proved to be fabulous for getting things done as we knew each other and each other's bosses and spouses and could provide good career and family feedback. We have now disbanded because people don't work in the same town anymore, but it was great while it lasted.


It is possible. Though I think I recently experienced the nasty side of women in the work place, not two weeks later I'm back working for another woman, and I tell you it is fantastic. Some of my biggest supporters during that transition were 3 ladies that I met 10 years ago. We don't have much in common, but we've been there for each other. Supporting each other while we decide to have (or not) kids, quit jobs and change careers. We've cheered each other on as we have fertility treatments, bear and adopt kids, have our jobs reorganized/bought out.

Have we had disagreements, sure. But we all realised that we are stronger together and those minor nits will pass. Go forth and network.


I wish you luck with your new group. I think if women spent more time working together, we could shatter more glass ceilings instead of fighting each other to be the one to have her face closest to the glass.