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Women as Mentors?

Here at the Network, 5 out of 6 staff are female.  Well, there are only 6 of us really.  Ken Anthony is awash in females.  I don’t think he sees it that way though.  Michelle has mentored Ken since he arrived.  Here we work as a team trying new ideas or revising old ones.  So the title above “Women as Mentors?” comes as no surprise as the article would suggest to everyone else.

Why does this title surprise though? According to the government 47% of the workforce are women, 75% of those women work full-time.  So what goes?

A small research study done by Development Dimensions International (DDI), surveyed 318 business women worldwide, 75% in mid and senior level positions.  They found some interesting information. Most of these women (63%) had never been mentored but believed that mentoring was very important to career success.  According to the survey the main reason women did not mentor was because of time constraints and believing that they did not have enough expertise to mentor.  It had nothing to do with competition or family obligations, simply they did not have time.  Then again, most senior women had never been asked.

If junior women aren’t asking and senior women aren’t inviting them that might be a reason that there are so few women is senior positions. Women have trouble with “social capital” or the amount of people in their business networks.  If men have 80% of senior level positions and men tend to mentor men, then women WILL have a problem climbing that corporate ladder.

So in my past and present business experience (CIGNA & the Network), I have never asked for a mentor but like the women above I believe mentoring is very important.  I put together a patchwork of men and women who helped me learn and gain practical experience.  There were two managers who actively mentored me for short periods at my previous business life without my asking.  In my current life at the Network we just watch over each other and that is ok for me.

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