Former first lady and renowned activist Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” These timeless words of wisdom still ring true today, but perhaps for some young women, they are not heard clearly enough. Though women’s suffrage and the fight for equality have brought forth wondrous progress, in this modern world, it is still not easy for a woman to succeed. As of 2015, women still only earn about 77 percent of what men of equal status and job description make, according to Pew Research.
Even in these unfavorable conditions, a woman’s sense of self-worth can still bloom under the guidance and nurture of positive influences in her life. A positive female mentor can prove invaluable to a young woman, especially for those who lack solid role models at home. When society fails, it becomes the duty of those women who have fought and won to pass down their success and strength to the younger ladies, and through their tutelage and guidance, inspire a new generation to have faith in themselves and to continue the good fight in whatever field they pursue.
In the Arts
One of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, Charlize Theron, accredits much of her success to her mentor, J.J. Harris. Theron met Harris through the business and hired her as her manager. In the years that Harris worked as her manager, Theron stated that she learned invaluable lessons about the business of Hollywood, as well as about the business of life. Theron heralded Harris for the positive influence she had on her life, insisting that one of the most valuable concepts that she learned from Harris was that it is okay to say ‘no,’ and to not just accept any role that is thrown your way just because it was offered.
Mentoring has long been a practice in the field of academia, for students, instructors, and staff. It is seen as one of the most valuable means of providing training and experience to a newcomer. A study conducted by East Tennessee State University demonstrated how mentoring can improve academic performance, especially for at-risk students, in which the students who participated in the mentoring program improved in both attendance and grade point averages, as well as had fewer disciplinary issues.
As one of the fields most difficult for women to achieve equal status in, a mentorship in the business industry could yield extraordinary benefits to a mentee. A study that focused on mentorships’ effect on employment and career satisfaction in the field of business indicated that female mentorship results in higher levels of organizational commitment and lower levels of role conflict in the workplace. Unfortunately, the field of business is also one of the fields in which women are least likely to ask for mentorship.
Knowing the value of mentorship isn’t enough. Finding the right mentor or mentee is key in making a significant difference in one’s life. There are dozens of online mentorship programs available, but an in-person mentor may offer a more meaningful, personal connection.
For these kinds of relationships, many great mentors can be found while attending college and in a variety of workplaces. For those upstanding ladies ready to find mentees, entry-level jobs for growing companies like LifeLock, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Verizon Wireless and others are likely to employ driven women in need of guidance in order to navigate the temperamental job market and career ladder.
The importance of a sorority for women in the workplace is as important today as it was when Eleanor Roosevelt graced the White House. Whether in need of mentorship or willing to offer it, all one needs do is ask.