Updated: Feb 12, 2021
Happy Friday everyone!
I hope your first few weeks of 2021 have been kind to you. More importantly, I hope that you are finding healthy and helpful strategies to employ in your day to day life in order to make this year all that you hope it to be. On that note, I wanted to speak on one extremely valuable tool I encourage all of our readers to seek out: mentorship!
In today’s society, there is what seems like an endless list of challenges and demands, as well as opportunities and rewards that go hand in hand with being a woman in the workforce. Getting your foot in the door can be difficult enough, let alone navigating newer phenomena such as social networking, self-promotion, and even learning to succeed and thrive in the unprecedented and ever-changing state of a world undergoing a global pandemic. These matters are overwhelming and nearly impossible to unpack, understand, and successfully perform on a day-to-day basis. I’ll be the first to admit, I could use a hand.
It’s completely natural for humans to seek connection, to build community. But as women, we often experience and face obstacles and obligations that are distinct to us as women. As a result, it can be difficult to always feel a sense of commonality with individuals not exposed to your same experiences. Particularly in male-dominated fields, feeling isolated can be the norm and our mental wellbeing can deteriorate.
As academic and/or professional women, the best tool we have for successfully maneuvering the various facets of the workforce is … you’ve got: EACH OTHER - other women. The value of female mentorship, of female coalition in general, is huge. Why? Because there is comfort in knowing someone has gone through what you are currently going through; there is inspiration found in looking at and learning from successful women in your field of interest; there is POWER in females working together and expanding themselves in the workplace.
We need to normalize female mentorship. I can attest, through my own personal experiences, that the ability to say, “Hey, I’m going through *this* right now, do you understand? How did you manage a similar situation? How can I help someone in this position moving forward?” is not just helpful, it is liberating. And you should try it. Seek out women in your field, seek out women who inspire you, and absorb all they have to offer. Offer yourself as a mentor to other women, share your experiences, your hardships, and your triumphs.
School and workplace gender discrepancies are a problem that women did not create, but they are one I believe together they can and will solve. Through celebrating the success of women before us, teaching and inspiring the women that come after us, and removing barriers in and amongst academic and professional spaces - we ALL benefit.