McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org released a report titled Women in the Workplace 2022, in which they surveyed 400,000 people in the United States and Canada about their workplace experiences between 2015 and 2022 – writes Catherine Mandungu, Founder of Think RevOps. 

It revealed that despite progressive changes in the workplace, women are still dramatically underrepresented in leadership and cited that women’s main obstacle to senior leadership positions is “at the first step up to manager”.

We would probably get similar results if we conducted the same survey in the UK. For example, they found that women remain deeply underrepresented in technical roles citing “32% of women in technical and engineering roles are often the only woman in the room at work”. This figure is highly representative of the situation worldwide.

A mentor to help you navigate the world of business

We can’t escape the fact that the world of business is largely male dominated, which presents barriers to promotion, stereotyping, inequity in pay and on occasions harassment. It’s clear that we still have a long way to go. Having a mentor can help you to navigate the sometimes complex and ever-changing nature of the business world. An experienced mentor can provide valuable insights and guidance to help you achieve your goals, objectives and aspirations to succeed within your company.

Mentorship programmes can offer guidance with the potential to open doors for women seeking success in their chosen field. This is supported by a survey carried out by DDI World, which showed that 63% of women have never had a formal mentor, pointing out that women can benefit from mentoring and from being mentors. As well as providing access to the support, resources and knowledge you need, a mentor can introduce you to networks of like-minded individuals, creating powerful connections and opening doors to new opportunities.

Creating a more inclusive culture

Moving Ahead, a company based in the UK, says that structured, formal gender-based mentoring creates better gender diversity in British workplaces by significantly improving women’s confidence and creating a more inclusive culture within companies. Their research showed 87% of employees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and developed greater confidence.

I had a time in my career when I wasn’t sure whether I was still on the right track. I doubted my trajectory and whether I even liked what I was doing. I was standing still, not moving backwards or moving forward. However, it was one of the pivotal moments in my life where I had to change, bringing me to where I am today.

Giving yourself time to enjoy personal growth 

In hindsight, it was such a natural part of my personal growth, but, at the same time, I could have benefitted from having a mentor. That’s why I recommend finding a mentor in your space that you can look up to and learn. Your mentor doesn’t have to be a woman, just someone you trust and someone you think would enrich your progress.

For example, you’ll find more men than women in the tech industry. There are few female role models, but this shouldn’t hold you back. If there are not enough female role models in this space, you can find a male role model to inspire your journey. Having passion is a motivation within itself, and you can still come a long way learning from the opposite sex, then you can become a role model yourself. I have always had male mentors in the tech industry, and I believe this has helped shape me into becoming a strong female entrepreneur.

The tech industry is growing – and so is its female workforce

Today the tech industry is absolutely open for women to work in this space. Many companies are creating those opportunities because they realise the importance of having a diverse and welcoming workspace. Sure, there might still be work to be done, but what happens next is up to you. As individuals, we create barriers for ourselves, and women tend not to always think immediately about going into tech as a possibility. If they do, they tend to let things such as imposter syndrome stop them from going after what they want.

It takes self-belief to succeed, but having the support of a mentor can make all the difference. Everyone involved in mentorship programmes is a winner. Mentees benefit from the relationship, and mentors reap the rewards from giving their time and energy. Many women who have achieved success in their careers have mentors who assisted them in getting to where they are today.