This blog is the third in a three-part series based on the TEDx Mission Viejo talk, “Advocate Change: Gender Balance For a Sustainable Workforce” by Executives Unlimited Founder and President, Tomilee Tilley Gill.
“A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” – Unknown
One way we can expedite gender equality is to actively recruit and mentor more women. Mentoring is vital to the career success of any professional and has practical benefits for any organization because knowledge from longer-term employees is funneled down to more junior staff. Although women should not have gender be their only criteria for a suitable mentor, it is imperative that professional women commit to being a mentor for another, while also seeking out a woman who has achieved success to form a mentor/mentee relationship with.
Value Women Networks
According to the Harvard Business Review, 67% of women responded to a national study that they had never been asked to be a mentor, while another 52% of women said they hadn’t found any suitable candidates to be their mentor. While one reason for this is that men still hold the power in most organizations, another is that women helping each other is often viewed negatively. When men support each other, it is accepted as succession planning or sponsorship, whereas when women help each other, it is often viewed as feminism. Women experience different challenges and paths in the workplace than men, from interviewing to salary negotiations to discrimination. By networking with other women who may have experienced a similar reality, women can get armed with solutions that can help them navigate their career.
Powerful Learning Opportunities Across Generations
Every generation should look for connections and learn from other generations. In a recent blog written by Pat Mitchell, Editorial Director of TEDWomen, she details why she has made it a 2017 goal to “connect women of all generations.” She explains that not only can her generation listen and learn from Millennials, but Millennials can gain advantages by mentorships with women who paved the way for them. Collaboration and mentorship will act as a “bridge” to build relationships across generations that lead to trust, shared power, innovation, and progress.
Follow the Lead of Innovators
As more companies follow the lead of innovators such as Google, who created programs and outreach efforts to mentor women and educate girls in tech, the more acceptable and successful these programs will be. Google’s Women Techmakers global program provides community and resources to women in tech. Since 2012, the program has provided more than 50,000 women visibility, events, and opportunity that wouldn’t have been available without a dedicated effort.
Zero Tolerance for Destructive Talking
A commitment to “do no harm” is in its own way a form of advocacy. If you embrace a zero-tolerance policy for trash talking and judging other women, and you commit to applauding another women’s achievements—even if not publicly—you will build your colleague up and contribute to her having the courage to advocate for herself. When you focus energy on building your own skills and allowing time for your own self-care, you will be better equipped to take the high road and support a fellow female’s accomplishments and path to gender equality.
In order to reach gender equality in the workforce, women must mentor other women. As a national provider of retained executive recruiting and placement services, our team at Executives Unlimited helps companies identify their next leaders — men and women. Please call us at (866) 957-4466 or contact us online today.
We encourage you to like and share Tomilee’s TEDx Talk with your network.