Pay it Forward: The Importance of Female Mentorship for Girls
The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today. While men and women enter the workforce with equal ambition, women experience a major drop in aspiration to top jobs at their company (and confidence they will reach them) after just two years.
The numbers are staggering; for women more than two years on the job, aspiration to achieve a C-suite position drops 60% and confidence that they would make it there nearly 50% from when they began working (by comparison, men’s dropped only 10%).
How can we fix it? Pay it forward by mentoring.
Role models are important for aspiring women – but this only works if there are role models at the top. Only 54% of women have access to senior leaders who acts as mentors of informal sponsors in their career. One way to fix this leaky pipeline is to begin mentoring girls at a younger age.
Many experts believe adolescence is the ideal time to formally introduce a girl to the concept of leadership. Developing skills like self-confidence, problem solving, and positive values prepares girls to be the leaders their families, communities, and country will need in the future.
If we are going to change the state of women in the workplace, we have to help each other get there. Providing safe spaces for girls to connect with female mentors is a must. Single-gender environments are important to girl development.
Research shows that all-girl environments – be they all-female sports teams, the classroom, or other extracurricular activities -- provide more opportunities for girls to build confidence, a key component of leadership. Studies show that girls who take part in certain all-girl activities go on to have more successful careers, experience higher levels of education, and be happier in life in general.
If you are a woman who would like to mentor, don’t be shy. The economic empowerment of women isn’t just good for women, it’s good for everyone.