Employers have made considerable efforts in the past few decades to promote gender equality in the workplace. However, research shows that women are still underrepresented, especially in the higher rungs of the corporate ladder. A subtle form of gender bias prevents women from attaining higher positions. Other issues that female employees feel need to be addressed include the gender pay gap and the deficiency of senior leadership opportunities. Several organizations have observed these phenomena and have understood the need for concerted efforts to support women’s career development. Therefore, many have turned to mentoring initiatives to eliminate any remaining biases. Studies show that mentoring is far more effective in fostering diversity as well as inclusion at work than other similar training practices. It ultimately leads to improved pay prospects and career progression for women. Hence, mentoring can answer the question of how to improve gender equality in the workplace. Let us look at how mentoring women can help in achieving workplace equality.
Benefits of Mentoring
Mentoring may involve establishing a relationship with someone far more accomplished and experienced than you. That way, you can gain their advice and insights for personal and professional development. This relationship can be formal, where your organization may provide the structure for interaction, or informal, where you and your mentor share experience over lunch or a simple coffee meeting.
For young women, finding a mentor before beginning their career can be highly beneficial as they could learn the fundamentals of the professional world. They can also learn the art of networking to help them advance their career and how to handle workplace politics.
Mentoring can make women adept at skills like negotiating salaries, promoting achievements, or pursuing leadership opportunities within their organizations. Since women are often accused of downplaying their achievements and are considered to have lower confidence levels than their male counterparts, these skills become critical. Mentoring can also provide moral support and positive feedback to women facing work-related issues. It not only boosts their confidence levels but also makes them understand areas that need improvement.
Read Also: Why Hiring a Mentor is One of the Best Decisions for your Business
Role of Female Mentors
While the gender of your mentor is not something you should be too concerned about, for young women who are at the beginning of their careers, a female mentor can help them achieve their true potential and thrive in their careers.
Female mentors can also help their protégé achieve that delicate balance between their personal and professional lives. This is something that female employees tend to face after they attain motherhood. Since mentors are aware of the role of emotional intelligence and logic in a woman’s decision-making process, they are the most qualified ones to provide the required advice and support. A female employee may find it much more comfortable to speak to a female mentor about her personal and professional challenges. Accordingly, a female mentor can also help address challenges using her experience and intuition.
Female mentors can also play a key role in obtaining sponsorship that can help a woman employee advance in her career. Most of such female mentors had probably held leadership positions in their respective organizations. Therefore, they can testify regarding the potential of their mentees. Thus, if an organization is looking to promote women by sponsoring them, it can build a strong case by speaking up on their behalf and highlighting their skills and achievements. This is highly crucial for promoting workplace equality.
Apart from empowering women and uplifting the women workforce in business, there are several other benefits of promoting gender equality in the workplace. For instance, organizations with greater gender diversity perform better and display better growth. Hence organizations must look toward formulating policies that focus on inclusivity and diversity in recruitment, retention, and leadership to create a flexible working environment.
While acknowledging the importance of mentoring in achieving gender equality in the workplace is just the first step, organizations must look toward changing their work culture to provide a level playing field for women.
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