If 1% of the workforce in Australia transferred to jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), $57.4 billion would be added to the country’s GDP, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Part of this workforce is of course, women. To strengthen the country’s economy, women should be encouraged to pursue STEM careers, industries that have traditionally been dominated by men. Mentoring can assist in turning the situation around and enable women to thrive in STEM careers – or any other career for that matter.
Mentoring involves establishing a relationship with someone who is more experienced in their career or in their business to gain advice and insights on professional and personal development. The relationship can either be formal through organisations providing structure for interaction; or it can be informal, where the mentor and mentee exchange experiences over a coffee or lunch meeting. Finding a good mentor before entering the workplace can be beneficial for young women because it can teach them the fundamentals of the professional world. It can also orient women on how to handle workplace politics and how to create networks to aid them in their career advancement.
Mentoring can equip women with skills to negotiate their salary, promote their own achievements and pursue leadership opportunities in their company. This is especially important, as women tend to downplay their achievements and have lower confidence levels than men. Aside from this, mentoring can also provide women with positive feedback and moral support whenever they are facing challenges in their work. It can help boost their confidence, as well as show them areas for improvement in order to maximise their potential in their chosen career.
Female mentors can offer more to women’s career advancement
Though a mentor can either be male or female, a female mentor can assist in helping young women thrive in their career. A female mentor serves as a role model. A female mentor occupying a position of power can build up the confidence of a young, female employee and prove to her that climbing the corporate ladder is possible.
In general, female mentors can help mentees find the delicate balance between work and outside work, especially if they have children. They understand how emotional intelligence and logic plays into a woman’s decision-making process, and can provide advice and their support accordingly. Furthermore, female mentors are more likely to use their intuition to encourage mentees to open up about their personal and professional challenges and how to address them.
Women mentors can also help their mentees advance in their career through sponsorship. Female mentors that hold leadership positions in organisations can serve as testimonies regarding the potential of women. They can build the case for companies on promoting women whenever they agree to sponsor their mentees and speak up on their behalf regarding their skills and achievements. This is powerful for women to help cultivate gender equality in the corporate world.