Just a few days ago I received an invitation from a technology group, “exclusively” for CEOs, to attend a networking event. Here is the description of the event:
Hope all is well at Palo Alto Software. You might be aware that we here at ____ are launching an exclusive executive series of events for our executive members. We would like to invite you to our first one in 2009. The event will be a cigar smoking social at ________ Cigar room on Thursday March 19th starting at 5pm. We will spend a few hours mingling and smoking nice cigars and watching the Blazer game vs. Cleveland. Please RSVP if you are interested in attending. Space is very limited. First to RSVP by emailing me will be able to attend. I will confirm your space with an email reply. Cost is $40 (cigars included).
As a woman in technology I am often dealing with the “old-boys’ club” aspect that can be inherent in careers that have been traditionally more male than female. I am often times the only woman in the room. I am fine with it. I know that I have a strong tech background, I know that I work hard, I am dedicated, and I think, pretty smart. I am not intimidated by men who might judge me not as a person in technology but instead as a woman, and I know I can hold my own. But really? Do you think I really want to go to a networking event that STINKS of the “old-boys clubs” that women have been fighting against forever? Not to mention, who really smokes cigars these days anyway? How quickly can you make sure that you make all women in this group as aware as possible that they are not considered a part of, nor welcome in, the “old-boys’ club”?