Hello DebT, and welcome to the forum!
It's nice to have women on here that can help women!
And, I look forward to your participation.
This seems to be a real controversial topic and I wasn't sure if I wanted to pitch in on it or not.
I got sober on the West Coast, and there, it seemed common for men to sponsor women and women to sponsor men.
There are no written rules about it. Just opinions -- and, everyone seems to have one.
My sponsor sponsors women and does a great job with it. Most of us guys that he sponsors -- avoid it. I think it has everything to do with the individuals and what they decide is best for them and if they are cut out to do it or not.
I live in an area that it's nearly impossible for a newcomer woman to find a woman sponsor. And, when they do find a woman to sponsor them -- it's a kind of sponsorship where the one woman gives another woman a Big Book, or a bunch of non-A.A. literature and tells them to go read it -- and that's about the extent of the sponsorship.
I take a lot of guys through the 12 Steps and I've done a lot of 12 Step workshops for male and female participants. A lot of women ask me to take them through the Steps. I've done it a couple of times -- but, I avoid it like the flu -- because it causes me so many problems.
It's sad to watch the newcomer women alcoholics die from alcoholism because they can't find a woman who will help them, or that can help them. It breaks my heart to watch it. But, when I've tried to do something about it -- it causes too much controversy and criticisim and gossip and lies and rumors. And, then that reduces my effectiveness in trying to help any alcoholics. So, that's why I avoid it. It has always seemed to back-fire on me.
For me... my attitude is to "Live and Let Live." What people decide is their business. Out in the real world -- men and women live and die together. In the bars they live and die together. And, in recovery they live and die with each other.
When I was new in A.A. it was easier for me to talk to and trust the A.A. women. And, if it were not for them -- I wouldn't have made it. Later, they helped me get to a place where I could trust the men in A.A.
I've known many women in and out of A.A., that trust men more than they trust another woman. And, if they're alcoholic and they decide to get sober -- that doesn't seem to change easy for them. I understand their problem and I try to be a friend that they can talk to and confide in if they wish. I don't want them calling me "Sponsor"... but, there's a lot of guys that I don't want calling me their "Sponsor" either. I seem to be able to help more people more effectively -- when I keep it as "A.A. Friend" rather than "A.A. Sponsor."
Our book tells us that we're supposed to stop playing God. Yet, it seems often that A.A.'s are trying to make God-like decisions for other alcoholics, based upon their opinions -- and I wonder if that's really helpful to anyone.
Then, we (yes, I've been guilty of this, too... and I don't assume or suggest that you or anyone else has done it...) seem to tell newcomers to "trust God, clean house and help others"... and then we seem to suggest that they are too sick to trust God, to make adult decisions, and to rely on whatever they believe is their guidance from their own Higher Power, as they understand it.
I believe our main purpose is to be helpful to all people... and especially alcoholics. So, I often ask myself "Am I being helpful?" Do I practice love and tolerance?
Another thing I used to hear a lot when I was new in sobriety, was "check your motives!" Yet, when I finally read Chapter 5, of the Big Book, I learned that even though my motives can be good and perfect... things are still likely to blow up in my face!" I'll end up stepping on someone's toes -- or violating their opinions... and then, there will be hell to pay!
So, I try to keep it loose and not let myself get too serious about my ideas and opinions -- that it ends up making my head tight.
That's my take on it. I hope it helped in someway for me to share it.