Although the modern workplace has evolved significantly over the last twenty years into a more inclusive environment, it’s still very much a boy’s club. And for younger women coming into the system, this means they’re still confronting many of the same issues as their predecessors.
Having already navigated many of the obstacles to success, women who’ve reached leadership positions can offer so much in terms of guidance and mentorship to younger generations to help support their career advancement and allow them to overcome many existing workplace issues such as:
- Income inequality: While some companies are committed to closing their internal pay gaps, studies such as from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research have shown that at the current pace of change, the gender pay gap won’t be eliminated until 2059. This means that even women born today will face some version of this inequality during their lifetime.
- A scarcity of women in leadership: Qualified women continue to be passed over for promotions. As men continue to dominate the upper ranks of companies, career advancement remains a huge obstacle for ambitious women in the corporate world.
- Harassment: The #metoo movement helped to open the world’s eyes to the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. However, the response to the movement in many workplaces has been proved counterproductive, with many men pulling back from mentorship of young women out of a misguided fear of being accused.
Young women need access to mentors more than ever more to help them navigate these issues. While some people are able to naturally connect with potential mentors, many need additional support. A more formalized women’s mentorship program provides every woman employee with the opportunity to provide and accept guidance.
A women’s mentorship program can also provide access to a broader and more extensive peer network for mutual assistance and support. Open the doors to women in your workplace with a mentorship program using these tips:
- By asking a broad range of executives to participate in establishing the program, you will naturally build a more inclusive initiative, beneficial for a wider variety of individuals, and with a broader set of goals.
- It’s also essential to get buy-in from senior leadership. Having high level executives engaged and included rather than coerced into participating will lead to a greater number of successful mentor-mentee matches.
- Recruit all women
- Invite every woman in the workplace to participate in the program. Not only do you want to make sure all women feel included, but this also helps to establish a solid foundation of networking for women across the company.
- Set and measure program objectives
- Having clear milestones and measuring outcomes is the key to long term success and continued support from the powers that be. All participants should know what they are working towards, the steps required to get them there and what success actually looks like.