Why having a woman mentor is important for women?
Very often I have heard women tell stories of how it’s difficult to work with women bosses. In fact, a year back when I was about to join a project with female bosses, I was warned that it would be difficult. And tell you what, it was. Yes, unfortunately, it was. But I’m here to tell you why it shouldn’t be so. I’m here to tell you why having a woman mentor for a woman is so very important. Why a woman who has the capability and position, shouldn’t shirk from mentoring other women employees.
I think it was in Lean In where Sherly Sandberg also emphasized the same point. It is so important for women who are in positions of power to help, guide and teach women employees. I don’t need to tell you how low the percentage of women in leadership positions is. There is a large chasm between the number of women entering the workforce and the number making it to senior positions. A simple google search will tell you that. You must agree the figures don’t look good. So, if we need to tip the scales in favor of women then we must make the efforts ourselves. It is not enough for 1 or 2 or 10 or even 100 of us to break the glass ceiling. We need to do it as a group, as a sisterhood and bring the entire ceiling down.
But what is it that stops women from helping other women? Or, let me rephrase, why is it that most women I talk prefer working with a male boss instead of a female boss? Why is it that most women share experiences of their lives being made miserable by unreasonable demands or even voiceless female bosses?
It is not enough for 1 or 2 or 10 or even 100 of us to break the glass ceiling. We need to do it as a group, as a sisterhood and bring the entire ceiling down.
Maybe it’s got to do with being taken seriously in a peer group which is mostly filled with men. Maybe that’s what makes women bosses shy away from lending a helping hand or even taking that extra step to do away with myths that surround women at workplaces and stop their growth. Maybe that stops women bosses from mentoring other women.
I think women in leadership positions need to remember that they have the power because they are capable and competent. So, they don’t need to justify their success or their positions to male colleagues nor tiptoe around them. They need to make their presence felt. And once they do that, they need to make sure that the boardroom where they are in a minority looks different a few years down the line. They need to contribute to that. That’s why the role of women mentors becomes all the more important. A women mentor-mentee relationship is one of the ways to fight for gender parity.
Also, who can better understand all that women juggle than women themselves? Many times when women are not given promotions or important projects because they are married or working mothers, it’s the woman boss who needs to step in and make a case for her. On her merit, of course. It’s the woman boss who can stop this decision making based on gender and ask her peers to focus on merits. It’s the woman boss who can show women working under her how to balance work and home because let’s face it most women don’t yet have the luxury to focus just on their careers. The woman boss having already broken the glass ceiling can bring more women to the other side. And this she must do. A mentor is someone who has already been through what a mentee will be going through. When it comes to women, this assumes paramount importance.
The woman boss having already broken the glass ceiling can bring more women to the other side. #Women #FeministMondays Click To Tweet
A lot of things have to change in our set up at home and work to help women realize their full potentials. Till that happens, it will help women to have women mentors to show them how to navigate this maze of responsibilities and emerge successfully. Let’s face it when more women sit at decision-making tables better decisions are made and there is a McKinsey & Co study to prove that.
All around the world, most of the decision making is done by men because of the abysmally low representation of women in such bodies. So, in this male-dominated world, it is important for any women who make it make way for more like her.
I’m not saying that a woman should only seek a woman mentor or that a woman mentor should only seek a woman mentee. It’s just that if the circumstances are such that you have a woman who can be your mentor or mentee, then invest in that relationship. This is because you both are essentially going through the same only a few years apart, at least at the workplace. And in the war for gender parity, this is a crucial strategy that needs to be in place.
What do you say?
Picture Credit | fizkes via Shutterstock
This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.
Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.