Multicultural Feminism
Jason Belland

85 Broads
http://www.85broads.com/


85 Broads announces on their website, "Every smart woman knows that success is all about partnership," an idea the forms the basis for this professional women's networking organization. Formed in 1997, the group was initially conceived as way for women working at Goldman Sachs to connect with one another and leverage the power of their network in order to succeed professionally with peer support. Since then, the group has expanded to accept members from a wide range of careers, continuing to build a network of professional women that is now more than 30,000 members strong.

What's particularly interesting about this group is that it truly takes a multicultural approach to making change happen. Like the Seneca Falls reading from earlier this semester, the 85 Broads network includes a membership that identifies on many levels outside of just being a woman. Even beyond racial identities, there are economic and professional identities that all come into play as this organization continues to grow and facilitate conversations. As noted on their website, "85 Broads members live, work, and study in 82 different countries and work for thousands of for-profit and not-for-profit companies and organizations."

I also find it impressive that while they propose a vision of "30,000 amazing women who passionately believe in using their intellect and ambition to change the game for all women globally," they've also expanded the group, and that vision, even further. Unlike groups such as the Redstockings, who called "on all men to give up their male privileges and support women's liberation," 85 Broads truly takes a multicultural approach by celebrating men who want to be part of the conversation with a group called "Guys Who Rock." This new initiative recognizes the need for all voices to be at the table and allows men to participate and stay connected in what is evolving to become a powerful networking community for ambitious professionals. As noted on the website, "This will give extraordinary men the opportunity to join forces with visionary female game-changers worldwide!"

There's a lot of great work going on here, but more can be done. For one, just reading through the site it's clear that this group is catering toward a more affluent audience. There's certainly an eye toward "changing the game," which would then benefit all women and all members of society, but it's probably worth investigating some tangible outcomes of that work. That being said, the group does offer very affordable workshops in cities around the country, including one for $25 on "exploring how you learn to lead through the formal and informal “mentorships” in your life." These kinds of ideas, coupled with a group that continues to open its doors to more people, is an excellent framework to make really change happen, even within the patriarchal capitalism that marxist feminists deride.

By celebrating what is working through initiatives such as Woman Who Rock and Companies That Rock and focusing energy on growing the network while continuing to advocate informal mentorships and peer support, 85 Broads is creating a sustainable community that has an opportunity to deliver on its promise to "change the game for all women globally."


Information on 85 Broads (from 85broads.com)

About

85 Broads is a global network of 30,000 trailblazing women who are inspired, empowered, and connected.

The “founding members” of 85 Broads were women who worked for Goldman Sachs at 85 Broad Street, the investment banking firm’s former NYC headquarters. Over the past decade, 85 Broads expanded its membership to include women who are alumnae and students of the world’s leading colleges, universities, and graduate schools worldwide. Our members are located in more than 90 countries around the world and work for thousands of for-profit companies and not-for-profit organizations.

Our Regional Chapters develop and strengthen our global presence through exclusive workshops and events featuring industry experts. Currently, we have 36 professional Regional Chapters worldwide. New Chapters are created at our members’ request. Our Regional Chapters are organized and run by members of the network who passionately believe in the value of investing in smart women, from student to senior executive, globally.

85 Broads has student members at hundreds of undergraduate and graduate schools worldwide. Our campus clubs host conferences on global topics of interest such as wealth management seminars, industry panels, and career and networking workshops. Our campus clubs provide a forum for our undergraduate and graduate school members to develop and hone their leadership skills which dramatically increases their lifetime investment return on their education.

History

In 1997, Janet Hanson was inspired to create 85 Broads, a network connecting women who had retired from Goldman Sachs with women who were building their careers at 85 Broad Street, the firm’s former Manhattan headquarters.

What all these women had in common was a “love of the game” – whether as investment bankers, traders, research analysts, or portfolio managers. Over time, their passion for their clients, their teammates, and the firm itself morphed into something even greater – an uncompromising standard of excellence in everything they chose to do in their personal and professional lives.

Not long after the network was founded, 85 Broads expanded its membership to include women who shared that passion for excellence – regardless of chosen professional career path. For that reason, women who were students and alumnae of the leading graduate and undergraduate institutions were invited to join 85 Broads to collaborate and partner with the network’s founding members.

Today, with over 30,000 members from all parts of the globe, the members of 85 Broads have a clearly defined mission: to use their remarkable intelligence and talent to positively change the course of history for future generations of women worldwide.