March is Women’s History Month, which means it’s the perfect time to celebrate all things women, including our academic and career journeys! As a woman, no matter what field of study you’re pursuing, it’s important that you know there are many scholarly and professional organizations tailored to support, mentor, and encourage you along the way. Check out a few of the multitude of organizations designed specifically for women to connect with other women who share their interests and career goals.
Both high school and college students can join and benefit from academic-based organizations. These types of groups will not only help you with your studies but provide a more guided path to your future career and offer great networking opportunities as well.
1. National Women Law Students’ Organization
With chapters located across the nation at various college campuses, NWLSO is exactly what it sounds like: a place for female law students to come together to promote the role of women in the legal profession. Most chapters include mentorship programs, which can be invaluable resources for young women studying law. They can include student-to-student or attorney-student layouts. Students in NWLSO typically also engage in community service activities that support awareness of gender-related issues such as domestic violence or women’s rights.
2. Girls Write Now
Are you hoping to pursue a career in writing? Girls Write Now might be the perfect community for you! Based out of New York City, this organization uses mentorship programs, writing workshops, and more to serve a diverse group of high school students, helping them gain confidence in their voices and talents as writers and future world-changers. Many of the program’s participants have their work published and increase their access to internships and jobs in related fields such as copywriting, publishing, and media.
3. Women in STEM
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are all male-dominated fields, which is why Women in STEM was founded in 2017 to help counteract the gender disparity by strengthening STEM programs for women at the high school level. Resources include a mentorship program that matches high school girls with female college students in STEM and events with guest speakers brought to high schools to facilitate discussions that deconstruct the narrative that girls can’t succeed in STEM. The organization’s central goal is to help girls recognize their own potential and harness that potential to succeed in future scientific endeavors.
4. Rock the Street, Wall Street
Rock the Street, Wall Street is a “financial and investment literacy program designed to spark the interest of a diverse population of high school girls into careers of finance.” It was established in 2013 after its founders realized that the average age that girls in the US lost interest in math was nine—a significantly younger age than other countries. To combat this cultural issue, Rock the Street, Wall Street aims to lift women out of poverty and empower them to pursue careers in finance by exposing them to the ins and outs of finance and investment while still in high school. The program involves money management role models who act as mentors. Even if you aren’t considering pursuing a degree in Finance, RTSWS is a great way to become more financially literate and broaden your horizons.
5. Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is intended to encourage women to pursue careers in computer science, programming, and other traditionally male-dominated programs. The organization reaches out to young women ranging from third grade all the way to college students in an effort to expose them to coding in a fun and supportive environment. With over 8,500 programs worldwide, there’s most likely a chapter near you working to close the gender gap in technology fields.
Professional groups are traditionally geared more toward college students who can carry the benefits of their group membership with them beyond graduation. If you’re a young college-age woman looking to get a leg up in your career, here are some organizations to consider.
1. Female Entrepreneur Association
Perhaps you’re hoping to start your own business one day, or maybe you’re already in the process. Either way, you should keep the Female Entrepreneur Association in mind. This professional organization is an international community designed to help women successfully start and maintain their own businesses. Its website is filled with resources designed for women from all walks of life, including training opportunities, quizzes, and more.
2. Society of Women Engineers
The Society of Women Engineers was founded over 70 years ago to give female engineers a voice in what was—and still is—a male-dominated profession. They offer scholarships to women seeking to earn a higher level of education in their field, youth programs to raise up the next generation of young engineers, and affinity groups where members can connect and share experiences from the workplace.
3. National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives
When you think of law enforcement, you likely think of cop shows with grizzled old men. Well, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives wants you to know this isn’t the reality. In fact, it’s their goal to support and advance women already in law enforcement while also encouraging young women to join this valuable career. Through conferences, networking events, and the mentoring of women new to the field, NAWLEE works to affirm and support women in law enforcement.
4. American Medical Women’s Association
Considering going into health care for your future career? Then you’ll want to check out the American Medical Women’s Association. This organization is open to all health care professionals and exists to “advance women in medicine, advocate for equity, and ensure excellence in health care.” It provides a framework for women in the field by offering advice on everyday issues like maintaining a work-life balance as well as leadership and advocacy opportunities within a community of supportive women in health care.
5. American Business Women’s Association
The American Business Women’s Association is all about bringing businesswomen together from different backgrounds and helping them succeed both professionally and personally. ABWA provides leadership and education opportunities as well as plenty of networking events and general encouragement to women in business. With thousands of business and networking events happening each year, ABWA provides an abundance of opportunities to grow and connect with women in your field.
These are just a few of the many wonderful academic and professional organizations available for women. If you’re in a field that wasn’t mentioned, do some research! Chances are there’s a community just waiting for you to connect with them and make an impact. And while you’re getting involved with women’s organizations to advance your career dreams, don’t forget to learn about all the women who paved the way for us to make your dreams possible.
Check our more great content about and for women with the tag “Women’s History Month”!