Challenge Gender Inequity through Mentoring

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 seven 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. You don’t even need to formalize your mentorship – taking the time to get to know and offer advice to a young person can create a lot of positive impact in that person’s life. 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.

5. Call out gender bias when you see it.
Whether you are quiet or outspoken, it’s important to spread awareness and call out inequity wherever it exists. By speaking up, you bring attention to a phenomenon of which some people might not be aware.

6. Start a conversation about basic terms.
Once you find someone 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.

Mentoring is one way to make a difference in your community! To learn more about how you can get involved in creating social change, visit uwlakes.org/advocate.