Bridging the mentoring gender gap
A range of misconceptions may be discouraging women from seeking or becoming a career mentor. Learn more and discover how the ICAS Career Connections platform puts you in control of the mentoring process and helps you reap the benefits.
The benefits of career mentoring are well known, for both the person being mentored and the mentor themselves. Working with a mentor can help get your career off the ground, take it to the next level or kick-start a new project. Becoming a mentor can boost your leadership and communication skills, open you up to new ways of working and deliver a sense of pride and satisfaction.
The mentoring gender gap
However, despite general awareness of these benefits, there’s some evidence to suggest the existence of a mentoring gender gap, with women less likely than their male counterparts to have had a mentor and one study finding that 63% of women have never had a formal mentor.
There’s also evidence of a gap in the availability of women mentors, with another survey revealing that 82% of men have had male mentors, while just 69% of women have had female mentors.
…as women leaders, we have to give other women confidence back and tell them 'you can do this'.
Lynne Doughtie, Former Chairman and CEO, KPMG US
Give a little time, gain a lot
One of the main issues that can prevent women from becoming or seeking a mentor is a lack of free time. Mentoring needn’t be a time-consuming exercise – with the ICAS programme, mentoring relationships are only required to commit to one session per month. Given the many possible benefits to both the mentee and the mentor, any time you can commit will be well-spent.
And the ICAS Career Connections platform keeps you in control of the process throughout. You can arrange mentoring sessions at times that suit your schedule, take advantage of the online-meetings facility, and if you ever feel too busy to mentor can easily change your status to note your lack of availability.
Believe in and boost your skills
When considering a mentoring role, some women may be held back by an unfounded lack of confidence about their level of skills or experience. However, it’s important to remember that mentoring isn’t a challenge or test of your expertise. It’s an opportunity to share what you know, to provide a sounding board and to encourage your mentee. In fact, to mentor through the ICAS career mentoring process, you aren't required to have any specific knowledge or areas of expertise. Instead, you need to be passionate about helping others and possess a good balance of interpersonal skills, such as listening and communication.
For those who perhaps lack confidence, there are self-esteem benefits to be gained from the act of directly helping a colleague to advance their career. Working as a mentor can also help to develop skills such as those of management and leadership, which in turn will grow your confidence and potentially boost your own career.
Mentoring is a tool you can use to build an inclusive environment. Studies have shown that organisations with more inclusive environments have higher employee engagement, higher levels of trust and deliver higher returns.
Patrice Gordon CA, Head of Joint Ventures and Commercial Planning, Virgin Atlantic
Easily find a mentor that fits you
Whilst some may prefer, it’s not essential for a woman to be mentored by another woman. What’s important is finding a CA with the interpersonal skills noted above and the professional skills and experience to match the needs of your desired outcomes. With the Career Connections platform, you can easily search for a mentor with the exact interests and knowledge that will be of most benefit to you. You and your potential mentor can then meet over the platform for an initial chat, to ensure that you are comfortable progressing with the mentoring relationship.
How to get started with Career Connections
Career Connections is the new ICAS career-mentoring platform. It enables relationships between ICAS Members, connecting prospective mentors and mentees, no matter where they are in the world, with the ability to message, set up and host either online or in-person meetings.
Learn how to get started with our guide to finding a mentor:
Learn how to get started with our guide to becoming a mentor: