Women are a force in the workplace. For example, their ambition and strong work ethic are unmatched. They bring empathy and inclusivity to work. Women’s unique perspectives and experiences give the companies they work for an edge that fuels their success. For these reasons and more women can immensely benefit from career mentors.
Knowing all that they bring to the table, it’s too bad women are still struggling to find their places in their chosen industries and eventually move up. We can blame the glass ceiling most women reach at some point in their careers.
But the good news is some women have gotten passed the glass ceiling. Having a mentor or being a part of a mentorship program is a huge part of the reason why. Keep reading to learn why mentorship matters so much for women.
Mentorship Programs Are Fundamental for Women in Any Industry
Unfortunately, women have to deal with many barriers and negative circumstances in their careers.
For example, gender bias (treating someone differently because of their gender) is a common issue for women in the workplace. This could look like:
- Not having a voice at work
- Being looked down on for having children
- Being passed up for promotions
- Being interrupted or talked over often
- Having to work twice as hard as male coworkers for the same recognition
Women also have to deal with the ever-present gender pay gap. And don’t forget about the varying levels of sexual harassment. What women endure in the workplace isn’t fair. It leaves so many feeling isolated, unsupported, and hopeless.
It can make a difference if women have someone on their side helping them break through the barriers. Especially for women in male-dominated fields.
Women in Male-Dominated Fields Can Benefit From Mentors the Most
Men dominate most career fields. Still, women are on the rise in many of them. And mentorship is often the catapult. This is particularly true for women in these two fields.
Women make up 41% of sales representatives. They hold 34% of sales manager positions. And that number continues to decrease the higher we go up the sales career ladder.
In addition to this, women in sales deal with bias in their positions often. Many feel they don’t get the same advancement opportunities as men. They report feeling like their knowledge was underestimated, with many of their male coworkers seeing them as weak.
Mentorship can empower women in sales to speak up in the workplace. This is specially important when men treat women differently or look down upon them. It also helps them feel safe enough to ask questions without fearing judgment from coworkers. They’ll also have a strong relationship with an established person in their company, which helps advance their career.
According to Insider, “Women make up just 9.9% of the construction industry.” Talk about a gender gap. Physical work is often the core of construction. And many think this is why women don’t represent the industry much.
But the truth is, women are just as physically capable as men in construction work. Of course, there will be jobs that are more suited for male strength. But we could say the same about women.
Women in construction deal with many of the challenges that women in other industries do, like gender biases, sexual harassment, and a significant pay gap.
Mentorship for women in construction is beneficial because, for one, it’s a lonely industry for women with such little representation. Having another woman or ally to lean on and guide them can ease a lot of the loneliness.
In addition, reverse mentorship in construction, specifically, is beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. Reverse mentorship is when the mentee teaches the mentor.
Women tend to have high levels of digital literacy, while many older construction workers don’t.
A woman can teach an older coworker their digital skills in a reverse mentorship situation. And the older coworker can share their hands-on experience with their mentee. It’s a win-win situation for both in this tough industry.
Tips For Helping Women Find Mentors
One can look for a mentor through a mentorship program. Finding the right mentorship program is the key to advancement and a supportive community for women in their workplaces. These two tips can help ensure women choose the best mentorship program.
Define what you want from a mentor
For women to get what they want out of the mentorship, they first need to define exactly what they want. In other words, what results do you want to see once you complete your mentorship program? And what do you want the mentor/mentee dynamic to be like?
Women should take their time answering these questions in detail. Write these answers down and refer to it when you are in the thick of the search for a solid mentor. Clearly defining what you want from a mentorship is the only way to ensure you get it.
Look for programs in your company and outside of it
The first place a woman should look for a mentor is in the company they work for. Women can get the day-to-day support they need in the workplace when their mentor works at the same company.
You can contact HR to see if there are any mentorship programs available. If there aren’t, take your search for a mentor outside your company’s walls. Start on social media, finding pages dedicated to women in your particular industry. Once you establish relationships with some of the individuals in this group, you can approach them about a possible mentorship arrangement.
The impact career mentoring can have on women in any career field is indisputable, especially for women in male-dominated fields. It’s so important women continue to break down barriers, promote inclusion, and create space for women in every industry. Leaning on mentorship to do this is a great first step.
About The Author
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about the ways technology, education, and wellness intersect and impact our everyday lives. She is frequently lost in a good book.
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