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Employee Mentoring

Mentorship for Women & Diversity Mentoring

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • January 26 2022

The need for guidance and direction is paramount, although the current generation aims for independence and freedom. For women who could become an educated labor force only recently, scaling up their career trajectories has become a far-reaching goal. 

A study by a human resource and leadership development consultancy, DDI, reported only 6 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a woman as CEO. These instances call for seriously initiating up-skilling and mentoring programs focused on women. Quoting Oprah Winfrey, "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." 

Find out how Female Mentorship Programs can be successful for your organization or the organizational growth as an individual by reading the rest of this blog.

Who Is A Mentor?

There always arises confusion between who a teacher and a mentor can be. A teacher can be proficient in the theoretical knowledge behind a subject. What makes a mentor stand out is the level of understanding one can have in acquiring knowledge or becoming skilled. A mentor will answer more than what the subject is for and address why and how to approach it. 

A mentor shows active participation in a mentee's career progress and other aspects. Mentors will offer their experiences and wisdom, foster new perspectives in thinking, challenge the existing knowledge, and help hone new skills. 

Effective mentors can:

  • Help set short-term and long-term goals
  • Offer constructive feedback
  • Aid in improving EQ or Emotional Intelligence
  • Improve your networking power

The relationship between a mentor and a mentee decides the growth and development factors to honour life experiences as lessons. A formal relationship between a mentor and mentee is defined with planned meetings and schedules, while an informal one involves any medium (such as call, chat, and email). 

Woman As A Mentor

It has been proven well that the top leadership consisting of women performed comparatively higher than those with only male representatives. Still, a considerable gap has to be filled in women's experiences in the workplace and career development. Female mentorship is essential to accentuate the ability of women in career transition.

More talented women need to come to the forefront and offer services willingly for formal mentorship programs. Female mentors can be invested in loaning their time for active mentorship roles they can provide to those who seek support and guidance.

Any organization looking to grow should always provide space for working cross-functionally. It should conduct female mentoring programs involving experienced women who outmatch their peers. Consistent redressals and forums help them perform higher than expected. 

Women lack female mentors in various industries as talented women fear competition within their workplace. Also, men find it difficult to mentor other women representatives owing to misunderstandings and other backlashes with gender disparity.

What to Look for in Women Mentors?

Although women need to seek an experienced person to be a mentor, mentorship roles are no cakewalk. Women, known for caregiving skills, become excellent mentors and can listen, empathize and provide a supportive shoulder to others. 

Time and again, women have proved their capability to multitask and shuffle accordingly with different roles they play in societal and professional domains. Women have an eye for minute details, which is a required skill for formal and informal mentoring. Women need to be more self-assured about their impact in the much less-travelled path towards mentorship.

Women mentors will be 

  • Committed 
  • A good listener
  • Open-minded to understand the mentee's standpoint
  • Ready to invest time to connect with the mentee
  • Skilled to steer the conversation with relevant questions
  • Efficient to empower men and women
  • Capable of leading from what their area of expertise

Why Are Women Mentors Necessary?

Women can play the role of both mentors and mentees to set a standard mark for influential leadership positions. With fewer women making it to the upper hierarchy of business or employment, a much lesser number of women have been trained or mentored by senior women or have been involved in any formal mentorship program. As the number of women increases in the workforce, they need to be exposed to the benefits of mentorship, which focus on:

Women's Personal Development

Most women are willing to help and serve other women peers but are hesitant because of low self-esteem and lack of encouragement. Women trained with strong interpersonal skills (career coaching, leading, socializing) are an asset to any organization for nurturing career trajectories in the long run. 

Professional Development of Women Employees

Performing women in careers need broader exposure to ideas, innovation, and platforms to express their views. Women mentors can essentially aid career women to acquire what they need through mentoring in the field of work and teach them to realize opportunities suitable for them.

Need for More Women As Role Models

Despite the strides that have been made to empower women and girls in recent years, there remains a significant lack of female role models in leadership positions. This lack of representation can create a sense of disconnection for young women and girls who may not see themselves represented in the upper echelons of power. Increasing the number of women in leadership roles can help change this and provide girls with positive examples to aspire to.

Empowering Young Career Women

Most young career women find male-dominated workplaces truncating their career growth. It takes exhaustive effort for women to progress to higher levels as they are seen as less competent for the work. Though there are now more career opportunities for women than ever before, society still tends to place certain expectations on them. Women who juggle between career and family are sidelined in responsible positions. With the right tools and support, today's young career women can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Establishing Gender Equality in The Workplace

Gender disparity has been a prolonging question in workplaces affecting women's career goals. Organisations that prefer men to be more capable and reliant on work have been perennial. Women have been in no way responsible for a discrepancy that suppressed their personal experience and demeanour. More women mentors can be remedial to drawbacks that shrink women's career adaptability.

Overcoming Other Barriers As A Woman 

Keeping professional and personal margins aligned is a challenge, especially for women. Women still playing a major role as domestic caregivers have to be uplifted and trained in financial management, skillset management, and other systems that can contribute to their career growth and success. Instead of focusing exclusively on a singular path, young career women should strive to empower themselves and each other.

Multiple Mentors for Multiple Roles

Women can diversify if trained on various social, economic, and professional life constructs. Often, a single person will not cover all these broad areas for individuals. Women need not be limited to one mentor or seek multiple mentors according to their growing preferences. Also, a women mentor can organise groups, clubs, and forums where women from different backgrounds can learn through divergent experience sharing.

Women Mentorship Programs: Every Organization's Future Initiative

Organizations should have mandatory mentorship programs exclusively designed and prepared to address every female team member's objectives. Even if outsourced, the organizations should formulate proper support and training programs. Such initiative will prove fruitful for organizations in various ways as follows:

1- Provide An Adequate Work Culture

Organizations invested in mentorship programs promote positive work culture by laying out the duties of employees and employers. A dominative workforce yields poor management, layoffs, and resignations from tasks.

2- Increase Productive Communication

Positive work culture instigates a positive mindset. Women empowered with a productive mindset with thought leadership and mentorships can inspire other women employees to perform optimally.

3- Improve The Level of Participation

Mentorship programs with thought-provoking tasks or group discussions with women mentors inspire women to come to the forefront with organizational activities that drive efficiency.

4- Gain More Women Leadership

A formal program in leadership and skills equip women to perform well, increase their work experience, and gain knowledge enough to set an example for other aspiring women. Women in higher leadership are an asset to the organization.

5- Create Awareness on Gender Equality

Female mentorship for women and men can create awareness of the challenges faced by women in workplaces. Individual meetings and group meetings where there is room for improvements have to be encouraged. Organizations' strict measures to promote an equal work culture without gender bias should be communicated. Any issue faced by women should be brought up to the spotlight with severe concern and involve redressals.

Women Mentoring Women

Women who can mentor and women who need mentorship are at the advantage of abundant opportunities in the field of mentorship. As it is commonly said that the best way is onwards and forwards, women should sincerely help each other grow devoid of having different backgrounds and industries. Using the right resources at the proper time can be made feasible with women joining hands to empower each other in filling the areas a co-working woman or a mentee requires. 

In short, it is about time women aspiring for career growth shrug off uncertainties and assumptions to become a mentor and seek a mentor to help themselves.

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