7 Supportive Associations For Women Professionals

Women now work in every sector of society, but they're still a long way from equal pay and rights. Given this reality, many groups have formed to fight for true equality, create community, and boost the profiles of working women. This list, in no particular order, highlights organizations carving out spaces for female professionals.

Kicking off the list at #1 is the Illinois Woman's Press Association. Operating since 1885, its objective is to maintain and improve the standards of members in mass communications in Illinois, to promote their interests, and to provide for the sharing of ideas and information. IWPA is an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women.

In 1995, the IWPA established an education fund. It exists to encourage and support students and advisors in the pursuit of journalism careers, as well as provide continuing education for IWPA members. The Association also runs two contests, one for professionals and another for high schoolers.

Coming in at #2, we have Women in Cable Telecommunications. WICT's mission is to create women leaders who transform this industry. It works toward this goal by providing professional development programs, commissioning gender research, and supporting a B2B network.

WICT partners with cable and technology companies to help build a more robust pipeline of women leaders. Founded in 1979, the organization hosts a conference each year, with keynote speakers and breakout sessions to share information and boost camaraderie.

The #3 entry is the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. This voluntary bar organization works to nurture, support, and galvanize the power of these attorneys to focus on three main issues: the concerns of women and children; black female representation in the judiciary and public offices; and proactivity with regards to politics.

GABWA has members throughout the state, with regional chapters in cities such as Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah. It hosts several programs and events across Georgia, including monthly general meetings and community service projects. The Association also maintains the GABWA Foundation, which has, among other things, awarded scholarships to deserving African-American women students attending law school in the state.

Next up, at #4, we get the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications. The organization strives to provide members access to role models and leaders in the communications field, and to share scholarships, research, and related technologies.

The chapter hosts educational seminars in the Central California coast region, meant to help members stay abreast of trends and shifts in the global communications economy, occupations, and professions. Every year, the AWC-SB organizes the Women of Achievement Awards, where winners have included CEOs, journalists, and other professionals.

For #5, we present New York Women in Film & Television, an organization that advocates for equality in the moving image industry. NYWIFT produces many programs and special events, including the Muse Awards for Vision and Achievement, which honors women in front of and behind the camera.

Another event, Designing Women, recognizes costume designers, makeup artists, and hairstylists in the industry. NYWIFT aims to energize women by presenting training and professional development programs, awarding scholarships and grants, and providing access to a supportive community of peers.

Up next, at #6, we find Washington Women in Public Relations, which is committed to advancing women in the field. Based out of Washington, DC, it is a member-based professional society working to cultivate and inspire female communicators to reach their full potential in the mid-Atlantic market and beyond.

To fulfill its mission, the organization provides leadership opportunities, professional development, mentorship, and industry networking. It started the annual Flack Attack Program, which is now the Media Roundtable luncheon, where journalists and editors discuss best practices in media relations.

Last but not least, at #7, we come to Pacific Women In Politics. This group, based in Fiji, aims to boost the participation of Pacific Islander women in politics, with the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality in the field. It seeks to cultivate support for female candidates through campaign training as well as campaign fundraising.

The organization collects publications on issues related to women in politics, from both the Pacific and around the world, in order to inform and inspire its members. It also hosts a number of forums and other events throughout the year to boost the profiles of candidates.