Quite a lot of the writing and commentary around the women's gifting circles assumes that the women participating in the circles are victims, at risk of being hurt or taken advantage of because of our “inferior ability” around business and financial decisions. While it might be that no one is coming out and saying this quite as directly as I have here, it is the subtext.
If only women had all the information and could look at the numbers, no woman would knowingly join a gifting circle, is the way the conversation seems to go. Or, this must be stopped because women are being hurt by participating in these gifting circles. Or they will be hurt because they can't make informed, empowered decisions.
So, for the record … we are not victims.
No woman is a victim to the phenomena of Gifting Circles.
If a woman is, in fact, hurt by her experience, she has a great opportunity to take responsibility for and learn from that experience.
I would LOVE to see all of those who claim women are being hurt by participating in gifting circles support women to mine the gold of their experiences.
If a woman loses trust for her sister or community, she can choose to believe she was victimized OR she can choose to inquire into her loss of trust, how it came about and how she created the circumstances for it to happen the way it did.
The woman who loses trust can choose to look at where the breach of trust took place, to surface that, bring it into the light and love it all the way open.
The woman who feels ripped off, bamboozled, misled or sold a bill of goods can look at the consciousness inside of herself that led to that impact and use the experience to learn more about herself, about her decision-making process, and about her relationship with money and business.
From that perspective, there can be no true loss.
Gifting Circles do not need to polarize our community, yet some have taken a stance of polarization and opposition. This is not the path to peace, it doesn't make the world a better place and if this is the stance you have taken, I urge you to consider another way.
Let's look at how these circles and the clear need for sisterhood, financial pathways and guidance are being met (or not being met by the structure of gifting circles) so we can come together to see the opportunity to create something that does work.
I'm so appreciative of each and every woman who has reached out to me for support with her experience in a gifting circle after reading my original article on the women's gifting circles. I've watched these women take full responsibility for their personal experience, learn from it and grow.
Women: you are not victims. If you joined a circle and now regret it, learn from it. If you joined a circle, completed it and feel guilt, work with that guild and find a way to give back. If you are in a circle and want to stay in without guilt, shame or fear, do it. Discover the promise that led you there in the first place and then create it for others.
If you are in judgment about the circles, I invite you to share in the comments about your ideas for what we can learn about what women desire and how we can create the support structures to provide it. If you are in support of the circles, I invite you to speak out about that support and why you support them so we can take what is working and build on it to make it even better. I'm excited to see what we can create when we move beyond polarization and into co-creative collaboration.