No matter in which industry you are planning to work in, finding yourself a mentor is always a good idea. This is particularly true if you are a woman trying to work for the first time in an industry that is mainly dominated by men and in which gender diversity is not a defined priority.
Suzzanne Uhland knows female mentors are very important for women who are planning to boost their working experience and enter into the business world. They are highly helpful when it comes to teaching their mentees about the way certain types of businesses work. Plus, they are key in the introduction of gender diversity in the labor market.
When it comes to female mentors the traditional relationship between mentor and mentee has a different dynamic. Female mentors had to deal with adversity when trying to reach the point where they currently are at. They had to be tough and prove that they were capable of doing a “man’s job”. For this reason, they not only are in charge of guiding their mentees, they are also examples of endurance and success.
Keeping all this in mind, here are some reasons why it is important for women in the business world to find a female mentor:
Can help you boosting confidence
Female mentors are important for women because they help them boost their confidence in a market that is often populated mainly by men. This happens because female mentors are the living proof of limitless capabilities and possibilities. Also, they help women start creating their own network or link them to an existing one that can help them achieve their goals.
Another important fact that may help female mentees boost their confidence is that they will have someone looking out for them. This usually gives people the sense of support and allows them to feel more secure when learning about a process or making an important decision on their own.
Different type of working relationship
When it comes to finding a female mentor, the traditional scheme of mentor and mentee changes in a positive way. The hierarchical perspective of the relationship shifts and it becomes about two individuals trying to give their best at what they do. It is not like the mentor is going to lose its senior position or that the mentee is going to stop being a junior right away. But, it is about adding the human component and empathy to the relationship.
This shift in paradigms allows mentees to find their mentors in less formal contexts, such as networking events or simply by LinkedIn messages. This is especially significant in industries where not many women work and gender diversity should be encouraged.
Dealing with discrimination
It is very important for a woman to find a female mentor that can help her deal with problems and issues such as discrimination. It is very likely for the female mentor to have encountered discrimination during her career, especially in industries where women are a rare thing to see.
Workforces composed by men in the vast majority tend to underestimate the capacities of women. Sometimes, it is even possible to see how these workforces discriminate women because of their physical appearance.
Since this is old news for female mentors, they are probably the best individuals to guide women along the path of entering a new industry and face potential traces of gender discrimination. Female mentors can actually share some of their stories and give some hints and advice on how to deal with it and crack any industry that is dominated by men.
Sometimes, men don’t understand that this is a major issue for women because they have never had to deal with it during their careers. This is why women need to be guided by women because to win the game you need to understand how it works.
How can you find a female mentor?
After pointing out some of the reasons why it is important for business women to find themselves a female mentor, it is also important to give some hints on how to find one.
There are many networks and organizations of women trying to help other women enter into the business world. Some of these organizations have already created professional mentor programs that aim to guide women through the process of entering the business world. Some other programs are more casual but are also useful to give the first approach to women who are still not sure about wanting or not to start working for an industry mainly controlled by men.
However, trying to find a female mentor can sometimes be hard, since there are not many of them and the mentor labor can be rather time-consuming. Despite this, it is always recommendable for women to take their chances and ask the person they want to be mentored by if they are available. In this case, both the mentor and the mentee need to make some arrangements and get their hands to it.