How to set up a successful women’s circle locally

A few years ago, Ama and a friend created a closed women’s circle with eight women, and we are still enjoying it. Here is how we went about it and the details and structure that we agreed upon. Feel free to copy them or develop your own. If you like the name feel free to use it and simply add a location to it.

Vision – Women supporting women

Shared purpose –Supporting each other and other less fortunate women

Name -The SunSistas
This is based on the sun being female and not male as it is in some languages other than English. The sun is considered the life giving power and is therefore female.

Participants – A closed circle with 8 women

How to find them? 2 women start the group, then each one invites another woman, then the 4 meet and decide if they are ok together. If yes, the latest additions each choose again another woman, then the 6 meet and again decide if they are ok together. If yes, then the latest additions do the same and invite each another woman, and voila… you are 8. And if a woman leaves the circle, the last new member chooses a replacement woman.

Meeting time – Once per month for about 3 hours.

We meet in the late morning because we are fit and awake at that time and not yet tired from the day.

Meeting location – Rotating at the homes of the women.

Meeting structure

Hostess decides the theme of the meeting, informs everyone before the meeting via email (or any other online communication) and guides participants during the meeting if necessary.

– Start with 5 min silence or meditation, led by hostess.
– Check-in: Short sharing of where you are right now (2 min each) + feedback or open ended questions (2 min) if needed.
– Main part: sharing based on the theme: 10 min each + 5 min for feedback and questions; hostess keeps track of time by setting up a timer. The hostess can also offer theme-oriented exercises followed by sharing.
– Check-out: Short sharing at the end of the meeting (surprises / insights / satisfied / dissatisfied): 2 min each
– End again with 5 min silence.

If one of the partcipants has a specific challenge in her life and asks the group to support and help her then the planned theme will be postponed to another meeting. We are flexible!

Each woman donates $10 at each meeting. When we have reached $1,000 we suggest charity groups as potential recipients, and the one with the majority of the votes will get the money.

Shared guidelines/values/principles:

Confidentiality, active listening, valuing of each other’s differences, I-messages, no uninvited advice, collaboration not collusion, on time, no interrupting each other, feedback only when asked for – Chit chat only before and after the meeting, not during.

Shared leadership model – Shared responsibilities based on individual strength and interests.

Intention – We do not look for results; instead we want to be transparent, stay flexible and intentional and reflect.