Women from community groups in India, Argentina, Zimbabwe and Palestine met their Birmingham counterparts yesterday to discuss their work.
The seminar was part of the 2005 Global Exchange Forum, entitled " Understanding Women's Social Capital" organised by the Foreign Policy Centre and the Barrow Cadbury Trust.
Representatives from Birmingham-based Women Acting in Today's Society, hosted the event.
Inspire in the Black Country, Saheli Woman's Group in Balsall Heath, and Osaba Women's Group in Coventry were among those who met to discuss experiences of disadvantaged women around the world, the way women's networks work in different countries, and how they can influence political policy.
Shazia Anman, the Barrow Cadbury Trust's regional development manager for the West Midlands, said British women's groups could learn a lot from those in less privileged countries.
She said: "Women's groups in Bangladesh and Pakistan are providing supplementary schools and services themselves. They would say British women are lazy.
"They are more disadvantaged and yet they are achieving more."
Shanta Koshti, from the Self Employed Women's Association in India, told the forum about its work with women from rural areas.
She said many were already using embroidery and pottery to make products, but had not recognised their economic value. Among other things, SEWA teaches women to market their products, and then set up insurance and bank accounts.
Raghda Masalha, from Trust for Early Childhood on Palestine's West Bank, said it was difficult for women in her country to influence policy because divisions within the country meant it was unclear.