Gender Inequalities on Steroids – Women Bear the Brunt During Covid
The COVID pandemic has made it more important than ever before for women in tech to have mentors to help them navigate unprecedented career challenges. Recent data shows that women have borne the brunt of the increased demands brought on by COVID. They have lost jobs, cut back on work hours, and devoted more time to child and home care at a higher rate than men. Increasing gender diversity in the tech staffing pipeline has become an even greater concern considering these changes. Claudia Goldin, Professor of Economics at Harvard, observed, “the [gender] inequalities that existed before the pandemic are now on steroids.”
What is a Mentor? – Someone Who Has Your Back
Simply stated, a mentor is someone who has your back. A mentor truly cares about you and your career and is there to listen and offer their advice and wisdom. It is ideal to have a mentor with a similar professional mindset to yours and who has achieved the goals you have set for yourself. A mentor will encourage you to think in new ways and will sometimes challenge you to learn vital new skills, helping you gain confidence. A mentor can also introduce you to new professional networks, expanding your career opportunities. A mentor can be any age, and at any level, so long as they understand your hopes and dreams, and have “been there, done that.”
Why Does Mentoring Matter So Much Today? – Retaining High-Achieving Women
Mentoring can help improve retention of high-achieving women and enable them to move into senior executive jobs. Mentors can also help identify talented women within the company and ensure that they are nurtured. In the words of Maryann Bruce, C200 Chair-Elect, “As senior leaders, we have an obligation to mentor and support women in the workforce—to aid in their professional development, to help build their confidence, and to guide them through challenges as they advance in their careers. I believe mentoring is one of the top strategies to help close the gender gap in business leadership.”
Does Your Mentor Have to be a Woman? – Women Mentoring Women is Important, but Not the Only Route
The tech work environment is still male dominated, so having a woman mentor as a role model is useful, especially at the early stages of your career. It helps build confidence and gives you access to opportunities you may not have even known existed. Remember there’s value in being mentored by both women and men over the course of your career. In certain areas of tech, men hold most of the leadership positions. Male leaders often have more experience and exposure to what goes on behind the scenes. Also, a male mentor can offer insights into other perspectives and approaches to problem-solving and decision-making. Over the course of your career, you will work under both men and women as leaders, and it helps to understand gender differences.
What About Women Mentoring Men? – Women Leaders Mentoring Men
Interestingly, there are many examples of women in senior roles have mentored men to take over their jobs. For example, Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, mentored her successor, Richard McPhail. As she shared on LinkedIn, “For any young professional, having trusted mentors to help guide and support them throughout their career is essential. Far too often we limit ourselves by sticking to mentors and mentees of the same gender. This piece from the Harvard Business Review illustrates how women can be powerful mentors not just for other women, but for men as well. I encourage young professionals, regardless of their own gender, to broaden their view of mentorship and consider how they might be empowered by the perspective of a strong, female mentor.”
How Do I Find a Mentor?- Just Ask!
Start by finding someone with the professional style and skillset you’d like to develop. Then ask this person, stating how much you admire them and asking for regular meetings. This person could be someone in your company, a co-worker or someone in another company with a similar career path. This mentor will help motivate and encourage you, holding you accountable for meeting the goals you set, and you will do the same for your mentor. It is ideal to set regular meetings and check-in points. It is a two-way street!
How SheTek Can Help – Matching Mentors and Mentees
SheTek can match you with experienced executive technology and business leaders who share their career insights, provide technical know-how and hands-on experience, and provide ways for you to gain confidence and grow your career.
The SheTek Tech Mentorship Program gives you access to a six-month guided meeting plan with your personal mentor, networking opportunities, soft-skills training, and more.
Click here to find out more!