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Updated on February 2, 2015

More Women Are Mentors

A number of years ago there were not many female mentors in business, at universities or at spiritual institutions. Now there are more women in these fields. Not all women are fortunate enough to have a female mentor to help them understand how to navigate the business world, educational institutions or spiritual institutions.

Women have challenges succeeding because they are often juggling more roles than most men. Often women take on more of the child care role in family. This will vary according to the particular spouse they are married to and what kind of professions they both might be involved with. There was a study discussed on Minnesota Public Radio on what makes a successful man or woman in the work place. The single most important factor, no matter the gender of the person, was how supportive the worker's spouse was in helping with their career. Help with household tasks is very crucial to the success of an employee.

Some women prefer jobs with social interaction over just doing research. This is why some women leave the math and science fields. Some women have challenges with child care arrangements. There is also a problem with sexual harassment in some job settings. Knowing how to deal with these situations is easier for a female mentor than a male mentor. The female mentor probably has experienced these situations. Many women go through these types of problems. The glass ceiling challenges in many work places are best discussed with a female mentor. Women also have closer emotional relationships with each other. I call this the Sisterhood. We have common experiences as women which men do not fully understand because they do not go through these experiences. Childbirth and the menses are unique to womankind. Men do not experience these. Men are more involved with child care and household tasks than they used to be, but they can not really know what childbirth or the menses are like.

Another unique situation for women is being the first female in their job role. This was common of women of my generation. Even today some women face this situation. We are scrutinized more than men. We have to be two to three times better than a male in that role to be considered equal to a man in that role. We have to cover our bases, correct mistakes and clean up problems to show our worthiness. We often get involved with details more than men do because we always have to show our worthiness as an employee.

How do you find a good female mentor? The best mentors have qualities that you want to develop. Building a relationship is important. Being involved in student activities can be very helpful. Volunteering on committees is a good idea if you want to develop opportunities to meet a good mentor. You do have to be comfortable with your mentor. A mentor will challenge you to do your best. You can always ask other students, employees or devotees who they think is a good mentor in your profession.

A good spiritual teacher is a good mentor. The person should empower you to make good decisions. Telling you what to do in a situation is not always the best thing for an individual. There are so many life situations where you have to learn to choose your priorities. You can't do everything. Family members can help in some cases, but you do have to make your own decisions. Many times in life you have to choose between two or three equally difficult choices.

Women of my generation had less female mentors to choose from, so many of us had male mentors. That is still true in some professions. Make sure that the man treats you like an equal and is a good listener. I have had both female and male mentors, but some things are easier to discuss with a female mentor.

Some day you will become a mentor to others. This is something that you should be happy about. This means that people respect you and that you can help others succeed and do well in their fields. You have become an elder to those around you. Congratulations!




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