“Lack of mentorship leads to stunted growth in mindset”
The saying that “behind every successful woman, is a mentor” can be attested to by most successful women who have survived the most downgrading of situation fuelled by gender bias.
The absence of women in leadership position and structures of influence presents a need for leadership institutions and the business community to revise their engagement strategies to ensure it manifests qualities of inclusivity and diversity.
The concept of mentorship could not be explained in a more accurate way that by Hamilton Stefan in the book Mentors in Adolescent’s lives 1998 book on where he describe it as a powerful, supportive emotional tie between older and younger persons in which the older member is trusted, loving and experienced in the guidance of others. In the concept of women empowerment, mentorship also needs to be done out of love and not necessity.
Amongst the women in science many have not been content with making it in the academic realm, but have made a U-turn to start empowerment groups and nongovernmental organisations targeting teenagers. Those who are consumed with academic work have also revealed how they get out of their normal routine to empower their students with mentorship classes.
To a large extent the first mentor should be the parent, who has to go the full mile to instill the need to succeed by also availing the required financial support as well as learning tools. From that point, girls need to choose the right role models who are the embodiment of true success. Mentors also need to tell the truth about the journey to success, so that these young girls would approach the science field knowing what to expect.
Mentors are the missing, link between a woman’s ambition to succeed and complacency, while the latter, experts say, lead to stunted growth in mindset and personal development.
For mentorship, women should not look up to the other gender, but the responsibility lies among other women to instil that very necessary courage where needed. In countries where elections are directed at individual representation and not a particular party, it remains uncertain why women voters fall for males and less trust on women candidates.
An Afrobarometer, a public opinion survey carried out across 31 countries in sub-Saharan Africa found that more women participate in elections than men in Africa but the fact that very few women are in position of power speaks volumes.
Over the past 40 years, almost all African countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), though the United Nations African Renewal report says little progress has been made in guaranteeing the convention is implemented. The way forward is mentorship of girls and the youth to excel, especially in science.
Mind tools says that mentors can develop leadership skills and gain a personal sense of satisfaction from knowing that they’ve helped someone. Mentees can expand their knowledge and skills, gain valuable advice from a more experienced person, and build their professional networks.
Mentors play an effective role in bringing to light the way out of challenges, successes, aspirations, and lessons learned
Every women wants to reach the level reached by Chimamanda Ngozi, Adichie, a Nigerian author, Bethlehem Alemu an Ethiopian entrepreneur, Wanjira Mathai an accomplished environmentalist and others. They need the mentors who will urge them on in spite of the real life hurdles.
Alumni of institutions of higher learning must accept the urge to broaden their scope of influence so that it is not restricted to fundraising initiatives and painting of classrooms while enjoying the social jamboree. They should start forming well knit networks of mentorship programmes targeting the professional development of women, from as early as high school.