Like Isla Fisher in Confessions of a Shopaholic, I was a starry-eyed young girl, who wanted to make it as a writer for a fashion publication. Magazines felt like home to me and whenever I watched movies featuring a woman striving hard to get into one, I could relate to it with every bone in my body. It wasn’t just a job; it was being able to make money doing something I love. It was about being confident enough to know I got the skills but humble enough to understand I had way too much learning to do. As I went through my journey, I had a few tremendous female mentors who ensured I blossomed.
Mentors aren't defined by their gender, but in a world where women are still fighting for equal pay and opportunities, having a female mentor show you how to break a glass ceiling can be incredibly encouraging. Here's why I think we need more female mentors.
It helps you unlearn gender roles
From using gendered language at the workplace to presuming all senior positions to be occupied by men, having a female leader will help you unlearn a lot. For years, women have been said to be too emotional to be a boss or are expected to be docile. Young women need to have role models who show how all of this is nothing but redundant sexist assumptions.
It creates diversity in the workplace
You need a diverse and inclusive workplace, wherein you have a healthy ratio of male-to-female leadership. This encourages the recruitment of more women in the organisation and the development of policies that benefit all genders, equally. A good mix of genders will help break age-old conditioning about women mentors and foster a work environment that is conducive to equal opportunities.
You have a leader who understands your challenges
You feel inspired to break the glass ceilings
Being able to become successful in your career requires much more than skills and hard work. You need to know how to deal with work pressure, how to take a stand for yourself, how to delegate, how to negotiate your salary and position, and so much more. Having a female leader who has shattered the glass ceiling, thus, not only inspires you to do the same but also teaches you how to go about it.
A female mentor can offer you emotional support
Sometimes, when you're feeling dejected, down or just demotivated, a female mentor will be more likely to offer you emotional support. Male leaders may feel hesitant to do so because they may not want to be misunderstood. But having a good woman leader is like having an older sister who will guide you, support you, and cheer you up when you need it!