Frequently Asked Questions
Our mission is simple: to create a world where women know, embrace, live and lead from their truth. We do this by inspiring women to connect with all parts of themselves and to a deep sense of their place in the world. We help women see which parts of themselves need further acknowledgement and integration so that they can live their lives to the fullest. For centuries, women have gathered together to see, hear and support each other. Through these experiences, we can be held when we feel alone, challenged when we’re stuck and loved when we believe that we aren’t worthy.
Our signature program, the Woman Within Weekend, is a two-and-half-day adventure for women. It provides a safe and nurturing environment for you to explore how your life could be different and to fully know and live the power of who you are. It’s an opportunity for you to look at the life you’ve created and to make choices about what you want to sustain, what you want to deepen and what you want to release. The Weekend program is designed by women, for women and staffed by women. It is a ‘guided’ program: sessions are sequenced to lead participants to descend into their deep feminine selves to retrieve a part that has been buried for one reason or another; then to ascend and reclaim that lost part to finally celebrate their wholeness. The Weekend is not intended to be a substitute for therapy, although it could be considered complementary to many kinds of therapies. Women at all stages of their journey can gain from the Woman Within experience. It is designed so that each woman finds her own path. Sessions include journaling, small and large group work, individual sharing, visualisations and movement. Most sessions are held indoors but we encourage you to dress according to the weather because there is movement between buildings as well as the chance to be in nature.
Woman Within Circles are small groups of women that typically meet in homes or meeting rooms to hear and support each other without judgment or trying to advise or ‘fix’ each other. These groups are typically free. They usually meet for several hours every one to four weeks, depending on circle member preferences, in various locations on a regional area. And for some who live more remotely, circles meet in cyberspace.
To many women, regularly attending their Circle becomes an important touchstone in their lives: it gives them an automatic way to connect to other thoughtful, journeying women. It also carves out several hours of ‘me’ time in what are often overly-busy lives. Importantly, it’s a chance to stop and look at what’s going on in your life on a regular basis, what you feel and think about it – and what you want to do about it.
Staffing a Woman Within Weekend is a powerful experience in which you support other women as they access the power within themselves. The act of being of service to another person is an ancient tradition; as a staff member, you’ll find that you get many gifts in return: continued growth, new skills and deeper connection with other women. Staffing is a time when you can get to know the women in your community and form deep, lasting friendships. Many women find the staffing experience to be just as powerful or, in some ways, even more powerful, than their initial Weekend.
Yes, the Woman Within Weekend is residential. Because of the nature of the program, its benefits are enhanced by staying on the site. If you have dietary, religious, health challenges or disabilities that cause you to believe you cannot stay at the location, please contact us about your concerns.
Yes, the program is the same no matter where you attend, whether it be in the USA, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia or in the UK. Each Weekend follows the same outline, ensuring that all activities and sessions are offered in the same way.
Discuss this with whomever you wish to bring and make your own decision. The Woman Within Weekend can accommodate friends or family members on the same Weekend, whether they be participants or staff members. At the weekend there are different teams. You can be placed on two separate teams, allowing each of you to have your own individual experiences and yet be available to support and encourage each other. If there are other concerns, again, please let us know.
This is not recommended. All experiences build upon each other. Missing a session greatly reduces the value of the Woman Within Weekend for you.
For upcoming Woman Within Weekends, please visit our calendar. The Woman Within Weekend is not a quick fix and it’s not a substitute for therapy. This process can complement therapy or be a catalyst to enhance the healing path you may already be on. We recommend that you sign up for the first available Woman Within Weekend and, in the meantime, try to find support from a therapist or professional in your area.
Absolutely. The Woman Within Weekend programs welcome women of all ages. Women in their 80’s have attended and gained from what they received from our workshops. Our minimum age is 18 and there is no maximum age.
Woman Within programs are not based on any religion nor do we promote any one belief over another. The sessions in the Woman Within Weekend and our other workshops blend a number of experiences drawn from many cultures and practices from around the world. We invite you to honor your own beliefs and spirituality. At all times, you choose whether you want to participate in any activity.
The Native American culture is one of many from around the world that is woven into the Woman Within Weekend curriculum. These rituals help us to prepare and be open to the growth opportunities being presented. We’ve also created our own ways of honoring the sacred feminine. You always have a choice about participating in any activity.
The magic of the program is in its unfolding. Each part of the Weekend builds on its previous parts. One session taken out of context wouldn’t make sense. To give you an outline of the whole program may undermine the sense of openness you need to receive whatever learning awaits you. And one woman’s experience may be very different from another’s. We don’t want you to be disappointed or discouraged if you don’t achieve the same result as another woman. Each woman comes to this experience with her own uniqueness and her own issues. To gain the maximum benefit, we ask you to trust the process. If you feel that you need more specific information before you can feel safe to come, contact our Woman Within Weekend Registrar and ask her for assistance.
This phrase is often heard among Woman Within participants. We ask women not to disclose our program’s content to ensure that each woman has her own experience. My journey is mine, yours is yours and how we react and interpret stimuli can be very different based on our history, current status and unique outlook.
Yes, the Weekend and Circle is available to any adult woman (over 18 years of age) regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion or physical ability.
There will be up to 40 women on staff who have all been through the Weekend themselves. Our program is based on the concept of women supporting women in their growth. The participant-to-staff ration is 1:1. The staff do not lead, they follow your lead. All staff have walked the same Woman Within path that you will walk.
There are typically between 16 and 32 participants on a Woman Within Weekend.
You make your own choices throughout the Weekend, and of course you are free to leave if you choose.
The buildings are non-smoking areas. However, there are breaks when smoking is allowed in the specific areas outside. Keep in mind some facilities might be in a wooded area and are restricted by fire regulations.
Only you can answer this question. We urge you to attend the Woman Within Weekend for yourself – not to please someone else. The same goes for Circle Training. If you are willing and ready to look inside for answers to questions that you may have – about yourself, the choices that you make, and your life – then the Weekend can provide you with a powerful opportunity. All our programs are for you, and you alone need to decide when you are ready to come. No one can decide for you when the time is right.
Financial aid may be available. Woman Within often organizes fundraising efforts to assist women with scholarships that allow them to attend the Woman Within Weekend. Check with the Woman Within VP and Registrar to see if scholarships are available for which you would qualify.
The Mankind Project is a not-for-profit organization with certified organizational centers in 27 different Regions in North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Its programs are designed for men; Woman Within’s programs are designed specifically for women. Although the two organizations aren’t officially affiliated and don’t share protocols or sessions, they do share a mission of offering women and men an opportunity to discover more about themselves.
MKP’s mission is to assist men in ‘reclaiming the sacred masculine’. The Woman Within mission is to ’empower women and empower the world’. The programs are similar, stemming from the same intellectual property related to Jungian archetypes. Yet they are hugely different. Woman Within programs have been designed by women, specifically for women.We help women transform their own lives by offering tools to help them access their wisdom and power. Because men and women are very different, so is the curricula of these programs.
Yes, we ask all weekend participants and staff to agree to keep all weekend events confidential.
We are not a cult. We do not fit any of the characteristics of a cult, which includes subservience to a leader, requiring attendance at functions, and encouraging members to live and/or socialize only with other group members. For more information on cults, see http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/langone_michael_term_cult.htm.
We honor each woman’s decision to be present, and if the weekend does not fit for her, we do not coerce her to stay. We are a group of women dedicated to the healing of the world one woman at a time.
Woman Within’s Anti-discrimination Statement says that, “Woman Within welcomes all women and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, gender*, national origin, age, religion, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation and gender identity.” You will find this statement on the bottom of every page of our website and on many of our printed materials.
Woman Within is committed to being culturally sensitive and to raising awareness around the topic of diversity. We would love to see a world free of prejudice and fear, filled instead with compassion, acceptance and understanding. Having said this, we know that we still have a great deal to learn.
(*Please see the question below about gender discrimination.)
Yes! One of Woman Within’s core values is inclusion. We welcome women who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Our deepest desire is for all women to feel welcomed at our Weekends and other workshops, no matter what they look like or where they’re from. Our focus is on creating an environment where all women can take a deeper look at themselves in a space that welcomes and accepts all of who they are.
Just as the term ‘sexual orientation’ was confusing at first, society is increasingly gaining comfort with these terms. ‘Gender expression’ can be thought of as the way that women express their womanhood outwardly, be it in dresses or jeans, high heels or sneakers, wearing makeup or clean-faced. ‘Gender identity’ refers to the way in which we understand ourselves inwardly as women. Gender identity is experienced on a continuum between female and male. Here’s a resource that may help you to better understand terms related to gender identity and expression.
We are aware that our society is just beginning to understand the world of transgender individuals – and that education around this topic is evolving. At Woman Within, we believe that transgender women who are living as women are indeed women, regardless of whether or not they have undergone gender confirmation surgery.
If you are a transgender woman and you are interested in taking part in our programs, we ask that you be fully transitioned and have lived for a minimum of one year post-transition as a woman before you attend a Woman Within Weekend or any of our Workshops. If you have any questions about attending, please contact your Regional Registrar. She will be happy to speak with you. You can also read more about our Inclusion Policy in the next question.
Woman Within adopted the following Inclusion Policy on September 8, 2015:
Woman Within’s Commitment
- Woman Within is committed to inclusiveness and welcomes persons who live full time as women to attend workshops and trainings.
- Woman Within requests that Circles and community events are open to persons who live full time as women.
Our Expectations of Transgender Participants
- The participant should be post-transition for at least one year, that is, she must have lived as a woman for a minimum of 12 months prior to the workshop.
- Gender confirmation surgery is not required.
- We encourage all women who participate in the Woman Within Weekend to have a strong source of support to turn to if needed following the weekend.
- We encourage, but do not require, the participant to be interviewed by at least one member of the leadership staff or Registrar for the workshop that she would like to attend.
Expectations of Woman Within:
If a transgender woman chooses to make us aware of her attendance, our process is as follows:
- Staff will be notified that a transgender woman will attend the workshop. Her identity will be shared with the leadership team, though not necessarily with general staff. The leadership team and staff will respect the confidentiality of the participant’s gender identity.
- Participants will not be told that a transgender woman is attending the weekend. Should the transgender participant choose to share her status with other participants, she may do so.
- Woman Within will advise all participants and staff through the website and weekend materials that we welcome all women, including transgender women.
- If the participant has not had gender reassignment surgery, we encourage her to discuss with the Registrar any accommodations she may need around restroom or shower facilities.
- Members of the leadership team will receive training on sensitivity to issues which may affect transgender participants, including appropriate responses to possible reactions from general staff or other participants.
- Staff will be provided educational materials to help increase their sensitivity and understanding about transgender individuals and to help the sensitivity of other participants learning there is a trans woman present. An educational component might include a group exercise on defining a woman/or femininity if there is any questioning by other participants.
- Every effort will be made to include leaders who have significant multicultural experience, ideally with transgender people.
- When it is known a participant is attending a weekend who is a transgender woman, if possible, staff will include women who are transgender male-to-female.
Because we want to be sensitive to the needs of all women, we want to be transparent about the inclusion of a diverse array of women in our Weekends and Workshops. Knowing that a wide array of diverse woman may be in attendance, if you have any questions about attending any of our programs as a participant or as a staffer, please contact your Regional Registrar or Staffing Coordinator. She will be happy to speak with you.
This is a personal choice that only you can decide. We respect your right to disclose or not to disclose. Trans women have attended the Weekend who have not disclosed that they are transgender. Upon reflection, we have heard some trans women say that they might have gotten more out of the Weekend and been more authentic had they chosen to disclose. We understand your reservations around disclosure so it is your personal choice.
It’s important to know that many women who attend our Weekends come with histories of abuse, possibly even yourself. Women can be very vulnerable during the Weekend; should one of them inadvertently discover that there is a transgender woman present who has not had gender confirmation surgery, there could be a strong emotional response.
To help us and you prepare fully for the Weekend, we encourage, but do not require, you to disclose that you are transgender to the Registrar before the Weekend. At this time, we also encourage you to get any questions you may have answered. You may choose to disclose only to the Registrar or you may choose to have her share this information with our Leadership team, in this case, it would not be shared with the rest of the staff or the participants. The Leadership team includes the Weekend Leader, the Team Leader, one or two Assistant Team Leaders, two Facilitators and up to six Facilitators-in-Training. You may also choose to self-disclose to the other women during the Weekend if you choose. We do tell participants and staff on pre-program paperwork that a diverse array of women, including transgender woman, could be in attendance at the Weekend – and that if they have any questions, they should contact the Registrar or Staffing Coordinator ahead of time. At the Weekend, the Weekend Leader and Facilitation Team or the Team Leading Staff will also be supporting you if you need anything.
All women at our Weekends or workshops, including transgender, straight, cisgender, bisexual and gay, queer, intersex and asexual women, are working on their own personal growth. Their primary focus during the Weekend will be on themselves. One of the commitments to safety that the staff and participants make is that there will be no sexual activity during the Weekend. If you have any questions about this before attending, feel free to talk with your Registrar or Staff Coordinator. At the Weekend or workshop, the Weekend Leader and Team Leading staff will also be supporting you if you need anything.
At the Weekend, the Weekend Leader and Team Leading staff will be supporting you if you need anything regarding your accommodations or anything else that you experience during the Weekend.
WWIL is a secular not-for-profit organization. Woman Within respects all belief systems and our programs are open to women of any faith or philosophy. You may see women of other faiths at a Woman Within Weekend or Workshop who are praying, sitting out from specific activities, who bring their own observant foods or who require other reasonable accommodations due to their faith or beliefs. There is nothing that you need to do; just be aware that these things may happen. If you have any questions about this or your faith requires you to ask for specific accommodations, feel free to talk with your Registrar or Staff Coordinator. At the Weekend, the Weekend Leader and Team Leading staff will also be supporting you if you need anything.
Women of some faiths do have religious prohibitions about certain activities. We reasonably accommodate women attending our programs whose beliefs prescribe that they observe specific restrictions, to the extent that we are able, but we will not exclude any other women as a result. Please speak to your Registrar or Staffing Coordinator if you have any questions about this. At the Weekend, the Weekend Leader and Team Leading staff will also be supporting you if you need anything.