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What Are the Different Types of Women's Self-Help Groups?

Valerie Goldberg
Valerie Goldberg

Self-help groups are support systems for people going through a common issue. There are many types of self-help groups that are geared toward women. Common types of women's self-help groups include programs about domestic violence, divorce or a specific medical condition. Women's self-help groups give females a positive place to find resources and talk about their current situations with others who can understand. There are Internet-based self-help groups as well as local chapters of groups that meet in person.

Women's self-help groups that meet to discuss domestic violent are relatively common in many areas of the world. Some women may find it hard to talk to family and friends about the abuse they have suffered. Many times a domestic violence self-help group will be led by a woman who is a survivor of domestic violence and can help group members get the courage to leave abusive relationships and stay free of them. Many groups also can connect women with resources to find temporary housing or a new job while adjusting to life outside a toxic relationship.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Divorce can be very rough on women, especially if they have been cheated on or have been married for a long time. Women's self-help groups for divorcees give women a place to make new friends who know exactly what they are going through. The women in the group also can provide tips for each other on surviving rough times such as child custody hearings, getting back into the workforce or dealing with an ex-spouse remarrying. Some ladies may even be lucky enough to find new close friends with whom they can develop an active social life.

Another type of women's self-help group is an illness support group. There are many serious and life-changing illnesses that effect women, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and interstitial cystitis. Both women going through a battle with an illness and women who are in remission from an illness may feel the need to share their stories with others. When women are open about their experiences, it can inspire other women to be survivors. Women also can share home-care tips and pain management strategies within such groups.

Women also may come together through women's self-help groups to promote illness awareness and raise money to find cures for a disease. Support group members can organize or participate in charity walks or organize other fundraisers. Groups also can come up with ideas on how to spread awareness through social networking websites.

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Discussion Comments


There seems to be women's self-help groups for pretty much everything. I remember when my mom had my little sister, she was in her mid-forties at that time so it was a real shock that she got pregnant. The family didn't really think it was still possible.

My mom found a great support group for women who end up having children later in life. It seems like a little thing, but I guess it can actually be tougher to have a baby when you are older, and there are still a lot of social stigmas attached to it as well. I know my mom still likes talking to the ladies in the group as they are more like minded when it comes to child rearing.


There are women's self-help groups for those of all ages. I remember when I was back in college there being a support group for young women who were on their own for the first time.

While a lot of people were excited to be away at school, it was really tough for those who were super close to their families. Some of the girls just didn't have the skills to be on their own yet. I remember going to a few meetings and some girls would just sit and cry because they missed their homes so bad.

I think that having a self-help group really helped everyone form some solid friendships. I can imagine that a lot of the girls in our group would have dropped out of school if it wasn't for the support they received.


There are a lot of great women's self help groups available for all kinds of situations. I am familiar with a group called Women for Women that help women who have suffered from the tragedies and hurts of war.

They have a great program that empowers these women to learn how to be self sufficient and provide for their children.

Many times in tough situations like these, financial assistance is beneficial, but just knowing there are people who support you and are willing to help you get through means more than anything.


Many years ago when I was going through a divorce, I met once a week with a support group of women who were going through the same thing. I had never been involved with anything like this and didn't even know what to expect.

My divorce was something that I did not see coming, so there were a lot of things I needed to work through. I was surprised at the bond that developed between us as we each shared our stories.

Even though we came from many different backgrounds and financial situations, we could all relate to one another. I developed a close friendship with two of these women, that I still keep in touch with today.

Before this experience, I had often wondered what are self help groups really for, and once I became involved with one, it was easy to see how helpful they can be. You realize that you are not alone and there are others who understand what you are going through.


@Mutsy -That is true and I want to say that in the case of a support group called women’s empowerment they actually offer more than just education. I was reading a story about a woman that had two failed marriages due to domestic violence and also experienced a rape and eventually became homeless. This lady entered many support groups to deal with the trauma in her life as well as the alcoholism that she developed.

The women’s empowerment group offered her not only a place to stay and group counseling, but they also provided the services of a social worker that helped her get her life together. She pointed out the destructive patterns in her life and helped her make better choices. The lady eventually graduated from the program and is now a volunteer at the support group. She also remarried and has since completely changed her life around. Sometimes these support groups give women a new lease on life.


@Sneakers41 - I think that support groups that provide specialized support for women struggling with a medical condition or disease is important too. When a woman suffers from a medical condition like lupus or fibromyalgia that leads to chronic pain and fatigue no one really understands what they are going through unless they actually have the disease.

Sometimes medical aliments like this also bring on a level of depression that is only understood by someone that is in the same boat. I know that breast cancer support groups also educate women on how to take care of themselves and live a normal life with the disease.

At the support group you will see a variety of women that are going through all sorts of stages with the disease and I think the support group gives these women more courage when they are together. It also allows them the chance to make friends which is really important too.


I think that support groups for women really lead to the empowerment of women. I know that many of these support groups help women cope by allowing them to see that they are not alone. I remember that my local hospital offered a support group for women that were breast feeding their children.

This was really great because a lot of women give up breastfeeding because it can be challenging especially in the beginning. Having a support group allows women to talk to more experienced mothers about challenges that they have had and it also lets them see that they are not alone in their struggles. I think that this is the biggest benefit that a support group offers.

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