This comment yesterday by Stephanie grabbed my heart…
“I also wanted to express my sincere yearning for mentors. I do feel like there is a gender void (as you pointed out in your response to Michelle). Where are the female mentors? I often have questions about business/writing/blogging/life…and I wish I had someone older/wiser to consult.”
Mentors of the male gender are not in strong supply either, but there is a disconcerting and disproportionate dearth of female mentors. In fact, I don’t know one (non-professional) female mentor.
As one of my daughters observed me each Tuesday for the past eleven years leave our home early (when this artist type goes anywhere early—she knows it is a big deal) to meet with and mentor young males, she naively assumed it would be easy to find a female mentor during the formative time in her life between high school and college.
When she asked for my advice, I suggested asking a few ladies that we both knew and respected if they would temporarily serve as a mentor. I listened in disbelief as she related that each one told her no.
Even though all the ladies were certainly busy and some felt they were not qualified, it was hard at that time in her life not to take it as a personal rejection.
Seeing her tenacity and thirst for a mentor (this girl does not give up easily), together we eventually found a professional female life coach who graciously mentored her for this very significant time in her life. I might add we paid this coach her hourly rate and it was worth ten—if not a hundred—times the amount.
Over eight years later, I continue to hear my daughter recount quotes from this female mentor and it is evident this short time of care and concern by another older female who was not family influenced her life forever.
Needless to say, that life coach is a hero to me and when she asked for a bit of consulting, I was happy to do it—at a discounted rate!
I must also admit this experience gave me a time of bitter pause, “Why would my daughter have such a difficult time finding a female mentor, when I’ve given such a huge amount of my time and effort to be a mentor to so many men?”
Why is there a gender void in this area?
Is it because we have taught females (especially in church) that they are not qualified to serve as advisers? (See my post “Homogenized Religion—Where Are The Women?“)
Is it because the dynamic of close relationships between females is different than that of males?
Is it because of feelings of inadequacy?
Is it because as a culture we have not practiced sexual equality, and so the Boomer generation (my age) of females have no female mentors from the Builder generation (my parents age) to emulate?
Is it because of a lack of trust—in themselves, in others, and ultimately in God?
What I DO know is:
It is NOT because of a lack of time—every person (male and female) that gains the respect of the mentoring request is already too busy. Taking the time to mentor is simply a matter of priorities. Those of us who mentor regularly (Michael Hyatt comes to mind) are extremely busy with our careers and yet somehow (hmmm-maybe this is primarily a man thing?) we realize the importance of a legacy.
We also realize the reciprocal benefit that comes through the mentoring process.
A mentor does not have to DO anything special, they simply have to BE themselves and LISTEN and answer questions honestly. That is enough!
Where are our female heroes?
Why do you think we have a dearth of female mentors?
What can we do about this?
I value your thoughts.