Women are increasingly claiming power in the workplace—but they still aren’t being mentored at the same rate as men. In fact, studies show that women are 54 percent less likely than men to have mentors.
There are two key reasons for this:1. Men Are Hesitant to Mentor Women
In many industries, there are still more senior-level men than senior-level women. Unfortunately, 60 percent of male managers report discomfort over mentoring young women, afraid their motives will be questioned—especially in the age of #MeToo and Time’s Up. In fact, this hesitancy has risen 33 percent in the last year.2. Women Aren’t Taking Full Advantage of Women Mentors
Women mentoring women creates a network of support, inspiration, and advocacy. However, 20 percent of women have never been asked to mentor, and 54 percent of women have only been asked a few times in their careers—despite the fact that 71 percent of women never turn down formal mentorship requests.
Women are not socially conditioned to be as assertive as men, and they may encounter social backlash for appearing “pushy.” Still, it’s important for women to continue seeking mentorship opportunities—especially from other women, who are usually eager to mentor junior-level women.
It’s also important for men to continue advocating for junior-level women through mentorship. This might involve some workarounds, like taking women mentees to breakfast instead of dinner. But overall, mentorships between senior-level men and junior-level women are rarely perceived as inappropriate—either by society or by women mentees. And while it’s important to make sure women mentees feel comfortable, it’s equally important to recognize the value in men supporting women and serving as career allies.