Mentoring Women to Reshape the Future 

Changing the Future, One Woman at a Time

Mentorship for women is an effective technique to help them develop in their careers because, despite tremendous progress in recent decades, women still face several obstacles in the workplace.

Mentoring is one tool we can use to assist more women in growing their careers. It can give them the financial independence and economic possibilities they may otherwise miss. It can also better prepare them for when such changes arise. Women in the workplace can acquire mentorships from their seniors. This article looks at why mentoring women is crucial for professional progression and how your company can promote more brilliant women leaders.

What is a Mentor, and How to Find One For Yourself

A mentor for you will be someone who takes an active interest in your work and offers knowledge and experience. A mentor will stimulate new ways of thinking, challenge your preconceptions, and assist you in learning new skills. Mentors can be of any age, level, or field, and you don’t have to choose a mentor from a similar field.

Now, there must be someone at work whom you admire for their achievements and work ethic. You might want to reach the place they have achieved and have a comparable professional perspective to you. Even though it’s natural to get a little intimidated by them, you should not let that stop you.

You can try out these ice breaker questions or statements to initiate the conversations between you:

    1. You can approach them casually, congratulate them on their success, and tell them that you admire them.
    2. Next, you can talk about their work and how it has inspired you.
    3. Try to make the other person comfortable, and see if they are interested in your work. Otherwise, it will all be a waste of time for both of you.
    4. Ask them if they can meet you regularly, give you their time, and help you achieve your goals. You can also try to have a friendly relationship with them.

The relationship between a mentor and a mentee can be formal and informal, and it’s up to you and your mentor.

Are You Ready to Be a Mentor?

3 female colleagues taking part in mentoring

Now, what if someone else is there looking up to you? And the other person asks you to mentor them. It’s natural for you to be flattered and feel good about yourself. You might want to take up your mentee as soon as possible. But before accepting a mentee, check in with yourself.

  • Are you sincerely curious about what your mentee wants to accomplish?
  • Do you have the necessary abilities to assist this individual, or will you be too exhausted to discover the answers to her questions?

If someone appears to be a good fit on paper but leaves you chilly in person, you have the right to remark, “I don’t think I’m the right person to help you.” Why would you squander your mentee’s time with a half-hearted, unconnected, or uninformed mentoring? Find someone who will make the encounter enjoyable for both of you.

The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” – Iyanla Vanzant. 

If you think you can do all those mentioned above wholeheartedly and genuinely help the other individual, then you must set some boundaries. This is so that you don’t get exhausted and tired. For example:

  • It’s crucial to specify your preferred method of communication (phone, Skype, email, in person, etc).
  • Specify when and how frequently you’re available to meet with your mentee.
  • Be clear about your encounters; do they refer to a few meetings or a long-term mentoring relationship that may last months or years?

This is an opportunity to establish clear limits. Mentoring may rapidly become a time drain if you don’t enforce your boundaries, leaving you feeling angry rather than empowered.

Why Do Women Need Mentorship?

According to DDI World’s analysis, just 6% of Fortune 500 businesses have a female CEO. This lack of representation is shocking but not surprising to many people.

There are numerous reasons why women are still in need of mentorships. For example;

  • Inequity in pay: Women are still paid less than males for the same work.
  • A barrier to promotion: Female executives are still few and far between, achieving an equal scope of promotion. Many women work in support or administrative positions in their businesses.
  • Balancing family and work life is still a task: Women with families have more challenges at work than men with families due to a family-life imbalance.
  • Stereotypes and gender prejudice: Some individuals still believe in stereotypes, such as gender prejudices. Employees should be evaluated based on their professional credentials and achievements, not preconceptions.
  • Harassment: Harassment of women in the workplace isn’t as common as it previously was, but it still happens.
  • Health: Women’s health is still a far-fetched topic in the workplace and is still overlooked.

White paper speech bubble with inscription mentoring

Importance of Female Mentors and Mentorship in the Workplace

Providing mentors to women is an effective strategy to assist them in developing in their jobs. A female mentor can help women navigate their careers by offering career counselling, skill development assistance, and continuous support. Despite this, according to the same DDI World researchers, just 37% of women had had a mentor in their professions, and just 56% of businesses have established mentorship programs.

Female leaders’ assistance is critical for these women to achieve their full potential at work. Some women are affected physically and emotionally by the problems, like a negative review at work. Investing in health promotion strategies, particularly for women’s health, can strengthen employees’ wellbeing.

Mentorship is important for women’s progress in the workplace for various reasons such as;

  • Employers with mentors have a higher rate of promotion than the rest.
  • Women employees with mentors or coaches said that such interactions had given them more confidence.

According to one research, retention and advancement rates for women in mentoring programs improved from 15% to 38%.

Benefits Women Can Receive Through Female Mentorship

Mentorship has several advantages for both individuals and the organisations that initiate them. Here are some of the ways that mentorship benefits women in particular.

1. Representation 

Many companies have a significant shortage of female leadership. Female mentors who function as role models for other women in the firm might be found through workplace mentorship programs. These mentors are capable of advising and guiding these other women, and they can also motivate them to strive more. Seeing a leader in your business with whom you can identify inspires you to believe that you can achieve that degree of success.

Business woman in officess representing company

2. Career development toolkits 

Women can acquire leadership qualities and practical talents to advocate for themselves when they mentor other women. Female mentors, meanwhile, may teach and equip younger women with skills such as negotiating a raise. They can help them mature more quickly and give what some call “shortcuts to success.”

They may also guide how to navigate their jobs and strike a work-life balance. Mentored women consider the experience and skills they learned as essential toolkits for their professional careers.

3. Connections 

Mentorships also provide women with support and encouragement at work. Women may feel alone in a job when they are the minority, and creating a business partnership with other women might help them feel more connected.

Women can also benefit from developing networks of essential and powerful individuals to learn from their mentors about other great leaders. These connections can give women the confidence to take on new challenges.

Can a Man Be a Mentor to a Woman?

Business man mentoring female colleague at her desk

The answer is Yes. Because there is a lack of female representation in the workplace, men should be encouraged to mentor women because there will be a scarcity of competent mentors if they do not. It’s important to recognise that some men may be hesitant to mentor women because they don’t want their words or actions to be misunderstood. But rather than avoiding mentoring women, men and employers may work around these issues by forming groups of mentors so that leaders aren’t alone with a female employee.

The unpleasing fact is that if men refuse to mentor women, gender equality in the workplace will continue to exist.

Instead, men should be encouraged to see mentoring women as a chance to broaden their horizons. In other words, the male mentor will learn how to negotiate a diverse workplace, which will help him become a stronger leader.

Top Female Mentors and Their Stories

Having said so much about female mentors and female mentorships, it would be an incomplete article if we didn’t introduce you to a few famous female mentors. 

1. Christine Lagarde 

On a number of fronts, the IMF’s managing director became the first woman to lead the European Central Bank. She recognises that her mentorship from her previous employer at Baker McKenzie, an international legal company, had a role in her achievement. In an interview, she commented that Baker McKenzie’s Managing Partner took her under his wing and helped her negotiate the male-dominated sector with composure and determination. She is dedicated to lifting other women, and she refuses to be the only woman in the room. She is committed to ending gender discrimination, particularly in the workplace.

2. Sheryl Sandberg

In her book “Lean In,” Sheryl offers advice to female employees on how to take their rightful seats at the table. She courageously discusses what prevents women from being great leaders in their areas and the practices that hold them behind their male counterparts. Also, she suggests how they might overcome these obstacles. She is dedicated to empowering young women and provides mentorship through her speeches.

3. Winnie Byanyima,

Winnie Byanyima is a Ugandan-born queen who strongly advocates for problems that impact ordinary people, particularly women. She was a Ugandan woman legislator who subsequently rose to become the executive director of Oxfam International. She is presently the UNAIDS Executive Director. Winnie is an excellent mentor to women and girls, particularly those interested in working in human rights activism.

4. Maya Angelou with Oprah Winfrey 

Oprah Winfrey has been a role model for a lot of women. But who has been her mentor? Maya Angelou, a poet and author was one of the women who inspired, challenged, and directed Oprah. “She was always there for me, leading me through some of my most formative years.” Angelou instilled in Oprah the value of teaching and paying it forward. Without question, Oprah’s significant life lessons aided her in becoming an example to many people.

5. Lady Gaga and Elton John 

Few can match Lady Gaga’s elegance and glamour in each of their concerts, but she didn’t get the confidence and expertise on her own. She has freely referred to Elton John as one of her mentors and is even his godmother. Lady Gaga has been dubbed a “wonderful role model” by Elton John, who has helped her ascend to superstardom.

Female Mentorship Programs

There are several female mentorship programs across the world. One can look after these websites and apply for one which applies to them.

Woman on her laptop and phone outside under leaves

Lists of top 5 websites that provide female mentorship programs:

Mentorship 2022 – For Creative Girls

Women Mentorship Program | BCG – Boston Consulting Group

International Female Mentorship Program – Oliver Wyman

Women in Cyber Mentorship Programme 2022 – ITU

Mentor Matchup 2022 – Women In Voice

You can apply to any of the programs mentioned above or have your mentorship program in your company. Don’t worry; you don’t have to panic about this. We have provided some tips on organizing this program.

How to Start a Female Mentorship Program in Your Own Company

Throughout their careers, experienced female professionals have faced several gender-related difficulties. Many people have successfully found their way past these stumbling hurdles and progressed up the corporate ladder. Organizing a women’s mentorship program for female employees is a good start. Women in leadership positions can help young women who are just starting their professions.

A women’s mentoring program is a great method to establish an environment where your female employees may openly address difficulties. Because experienced female mentors will be able to give guidance and insight to the women they mentor, the interactions will be productive. Here are some pointers for establishing a successful women’s mentorship program in your organization:

To lead the program, form a group:

If you’re starting a women’s mentoring program at your organization, many people will show their interest in this. Survey their intake into creating your program to be exactly what they expected.

Involve female members of your management team: The most successful females in your firm should undoubtedly be included in your program. They’re the ones who can advise young women on what it takes to be successful in their careers.

Set objectives for your program: Your firm may track the efficacy of your women’s mentorship program by setting targets. Set goals for improving female representation in management, for example, and keep track of how many mentees are promoted.

Women should be recruited to participate in the program: You must invite every female employee in your workplace to participate, whether as a mentor or mentee. Don’t leave anyone out of it.

Various Activities to Include in This Program

1. Counselling Sessions for Women to Speak More About Their Health

During menopause or pregnancy, women experience several hormonal changes. Peer support can assist in alleviating discomfort. You might also create a first-aid room for her to recover and relax. Also, the mentor can guide them so that women can talk about their issues.

2. Personalised Wellness Plans and Health Evaluations

Customize corporate wellness plans and health checkups with gender-specific testing. Also, conduct health coaching to ensure that your female colleagues are well-cared.

3. Surveys to Have a Deeper Knowledge of the Situation

Some female employees may be hesitant to seek assistance regarding their health. As a manager or a mentor, it’s critical to provide equal attention to these women to avoid missing out on benefits. That’s why you can conduct a survey among your employees and have a deeper understanding of their concerns and expectations. It will also assist you in making the appropriate adjustments to address your workplace problems.

4. Make Child-Care Choices Available to New Mothers

businesswoman is working and holding her baby

Pregnancy-related issues are widespread among working women. Because postpartum care is essential for a kid’s development, establishing a nursing room will assist the mother in caring for her infant while at work. Your employee will not only feel valued but will also benefit from your mental health support.

5. Have a Wellness Challenge

Women are more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal diseases, stress, infections, and obesity. Offering various wellness challenges in the office will encourage the employees to have a healthy lifestyle and deal with those illnesses.

Tip: Every mentor should introduce these issues and solutions in this Mentorship program.  

Summing it Up

There are still workplaces where women make up a small percentage of the total employees, but mentorships and encouragement can help them develop their skills to break down barriers. Mentoring women also benefits corporate executives, who obtain greater leadership abilities due to their efforts.

Formal mentorship programs that strive to enhance inclusion can help create a more cohesive and creative work environment. Hopefully, our society will soon address gender-related workplace concerns, but in the meanwhile, a women’s mentorship program can assist female employees in overcoming the obstacles they face.

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