In Defense of Women’s Empowerment Conferences the Internet Now Hates

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Spoiler Alert: I’m still rocking with #girlpower

For years, empowerment conferences operated in quiet, unbothered spaces for specific groups. It wasn’t until the recent elevation of digital marketing (and the rise of covetable hashtags) that they’ve become more visible.

From Beautycon to BlogHer, events built to foster sisterhood and arm women with the tools they need to succeed are getting burned at the stake.

I just want to know one thing: Why knock the hustle?

No fewer than five times last week did I come across conversations bashing getaway meet-ups as account-draining schemes and their organizers as actual mean girls.  It’s summer trip season after all. What’s not surprising is that most of the criticisms were from people who admitted that they hadn’t event experienced one such event. Huh?

Usually, when I see people dragging things they know nothing about, I bow out. This time though, I feel the whole divide and conquer rhetoric is dangerous and it’s worth it to speak out.

Maybe the hate comes from untreated cases of FOMO. One thing I do know is tearing down women and our ambitions for likes and retweets is old, tired, and annoying.

It’s no surprise that this is the grand sentiment toward all-girl gatherings. We’re living in a time when the internet is in full contentious debate about the finances of women they don’t even know. Tack on the recent popularity of becoming an entrepreneur and the strange opposition to self-improvement, and the hate is too thick to cut.

Studies have shown that Black women are the target of ire in corporate spaces once they get to the top of the ladder, so again the trickle down to events in support of women is hardly surprising.

But let it be known:

Women’s empowerment conferences are necessary.

Women’s empowerment conferences are necessary.

Women’s empowerment conferences are necessary.

Women’s empowerment conferences are necessary.

Women’s empowerment conferences are necessary.

Success can be a lonely undertaking, so having the opportunity to fellowship with like-minded people has never been more crucial. Black women work in spaces where we barely have any trustworthy allies. Our rights and livelihoods are consistently threatened by corporate structures and the important resources we rely on are reduced or straight up eliminated.

We’ve become self-sufficient by force.

Are these conferences costly? Yes, and most worthy investments cost you something.

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We have to change our thinking about the things we invest in. As someone who’s benefited big time from events like Myleik Teele’s MTY Retreat, I have to defend these endeavors created for black women to build their networks and grow.

I get it. Many of us still struggle with intangible purchases. If we can’t look at an investment item in our closet for six years, all of sudden it’s deemed a waste of money. The difference between a conference and an out of style Herve Leger dress is that one is an investment into your own potential.

Go on that retreat and live your best life.