Challenges faced together are often easier to manage. That’s true no matter your age or stage in life. Having someone who is by your side to help you face challenges is the power of mentorships! So for this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the power of mentoring – in all its forms – women and girls in order to challenge current systems and eliminate inequity and gender bias.
Here are eight ways you can challenge gender bias through mentoring.
1. Encourage friends and family to become mentors. Create community by sharing the benefits of mentorship. In the workplace mentees gain a wider perspective of their industry, develop a network and draw value from it. A stronger network also helps generate more professional opportunities and helps the mentee learn from their mentor’s expertise.
2. Share social posts that uplift women. Fight the ways that social media can tear women down by posting empowering content. Don’t feed into the trend of scrutinizing women’s bodies, for example. Instead share an article about the increasing numbers of women who are running for office. By taking this step you can lead by example and inspire other women to do the same.
3. Start a mentoring program at your local house of worship or community organization. Start with a community you are familiar with and truly maximize your reach. Be a role model to your community for how to make impactful social change.
4. Encourage a male friend or family member to fight gender bias. Challenging inequity is not just women’s work. Everyone can play a role! Men can examine their prejudices, change their outlooks, and get involved in mentorship by mentoring a woman or girl they know or connecting that person with a female leader.
6. Start a conversation about basic terms. Once you find a young woman to mentor, start talking about language and phrases connected to inequity and gender bias. What does inequity mean to both of you? What are some examples of gender bias? Brainstorm ways to fight against them. As a woman, you may think you understand what bias means and what it looks like. But do you really? Consider culture, religion, education, socioeconomics, and how they can influence how gender bias presents.
7. Give a presentation to your coworkers about the benefits of becoming a mentor. Again, awareness is the key word here. Ask your employer for an opportunity to give back. By sharing your experience, you could make an impact that you wouldn’t have expected.
8. Join your local Women United group to find a mentor.
Women United is a global organization over 75,000 women strong in 200+ communitiea across the globe. If you or someone you know needs support, reach out to your local United Wayto tap into its awomen's affinity group, and to find a mentor.
9. Join your local Women United group to become a mentor. Mentors are in great demand as well. Forge a powerful relationship that will change the life of a young woman or girl. Reach out to your local United Way today.