Hard to find female mentors?

Tesla WuVV67
Feb 3, 2018 28 Comments

I am a woman working in manufacturing and it has always been difficult for me to find female mentors. There are a lot of lessons that I had to learn on my own that my male counterparts didn't because their mentors guided them through.

I'm curious, is that the case in other industries? As a working woman, what are some of the lessons that you could have learnt sooner in your career if you had a female mentors?

Thanks!

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TOP 28 Comments
  • VMware HUFDW
    Why can't you get mentoring from males ? Just curious to know.
    Feb 3, 2018 10
    • Tesla WuVV67
      OP
      Let's keep the discussion on track. @HUFDW the topic is not whether women should be hired over men. The discussion is difficulty finding female mentors and whether it would be more beneficial to have one.
      Feb 3, 2018
    • Fidelity Investments GreenGhost
      Blind is cancer sometimes.

      Good on you for setting him straight @rfrw82
      Feb 3, 2018
    • SK hynix / Eng Memory Sol
      Is it because of work family balance?
      Feb 3, 2018
    • AT&T / Eng
      DDM2K

      AT&T Eng

      PRE
      Optum, Windstream, AT&T, Verizon
      DDM2Kmore
      And then there are people who think they have a shit work-life balance because they can’t work from home 4 days a week and bring their kid to work the 5th.
      Feb 4, 2018
    • Zonar TpER51
      I have mentored female employees and I think helped, but I agree that there are often issues that I simply don't see as a man.
      Apr 4, 2018
  • VMware HUFDW
    I am interested in learning why females feel more comfortable having female mentors? Can someone give some specific examples on how/why female mentors are better for females compared to male mentors ?
    Feb 3, 2018 2
    • Tesla WuVV67
      OP
      Take for example when you are networking in your industry. My male counterparts can ask another person for coffee but I learnt that I have to be more careful about how I word my invitation so as not to sound misleading. Lessons like these can only be taught to you by a female mentor
      Feb 3, 2018
    • Microsoft -dreamer-
      totally agree with above. Networking is a lot tougher as a woman in the industry. Plus, whether we admit it or not, there are inherent biases that potentially impact women. Having female mentors would help here. It’s quite difficult to find such female mentors with seniority in the first place.
      Feb 3, 2018
  • Amazon Fetch
    I’ve had the same issue. My mentors who have been male are great and really helped me, but it would have been nice to have a female mentor that learned to navigate the arenas I work in. I’m 25+ years in to my career now and always reach out to the female new hires (especially the undergrad hires) to offer to mentor them.
    Feb 3, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Eng ama64
      Guy here. Most of the people I’ve mentored are women. One of the first things I do is recommend (and help them find) a second mentor who is a woman. There is nothing wrong with having multiple (I have 3). In fact one woman I mentored recently had an issue (only woman on an all male team and the guys weren’t taking her seriously), and I told her I would help as much as I could - but she needed a woman to talk to who may have experienced that and could help better.

      As a mentor it’s important to recognize your limitations and provide recommendations or referrals when that happens.
      Mar 30, 2018
  • Amazon LaserCatEi
    Isn't this sexual discrimination? Why does the gender of your mentor matter?
    Just imagine the uproar this would cause if a guy said he didn't want any of his female coworkers as a mentor.
    Feb 3, 2018 3
    • Expedia M-M
      Sometimes it matters. My male mentors’ advice regarding issues of sexual harassment has usually fit into 2 categories “break the SOB’s jaw” or “ he just having fun”(this was about a person that would habitually grope female staff). It’s hard to give advice on how to deal with a situation when you’ve personally never experienced anything like that.
      Feb 4, 2018
    • Boeing / Eng
      turanga

      Boeing Eng

      PRE
      Boeing
      turangamore
      First, nothing in the OP said anything about females not wanting male mentors.

      Second, is there some shortage of male mentors I'm not aware of in the tech industry that is hurting other men in tech?
      Feb 4, 2018
    • Tesla WuVV67
      OP
      I think the people in this post have outlined pretty well the need for female mentors. If you are a guy who doesn't want female mentors what are your reasons? Let's hear them
      Feb 4, 2018
  • Amazon Zjevdgsbqv
    It's because - being a female, if you look up to a male, they most certainly would like to look up your skirt. Get it??

    Happened to me twice in last 5 years at different companies. The guys mentoring me tried to eventually ask me out.
    Mar 24, 2018 1
    • Amazon / Eng ama64
      Ouch. I can see how it happens. Mentorship can be very intimate. And some people think that it’s ok to ask someone out in that situation. But it isn’t appropriate. You don’t ask out your doctor, therapist, mentor, etc because there is a conflict of interest.

      My take: mentorship is like having an adult child or a sibling who is 10+ years younger. You listen attentively, support unconditionally, and give the best advice you can.
      Mar 30, 2018
  • Boeing / Eng
    turanga

    Boeing Eng

    PRE
    Boeing
    turangamore
    I've had the same problem in Aerospace, the older men are sometimes helpful, but they can't talk about how to approach things like networking, negotiation, being talked over in meetings, or even hanging out with your coworkers (being the only female in the group).

    I have generally found if they have daughters near my age they treat me as such.
    Feb 3, 2018 0
  • Juniper / Ops shitposter
    simple.. you just ask for a Womentor.
    Feb 3, 2018 1
    • Tesla WuVV67
      OP
      I am past the stage where I need a mentor. But I was curious to know if other industries share similar issues. I was also curious to learn that some things in my career I could have learnt a lot sooner had I had a female mentor.
      Feb 3, 2018
  • Oath / Eng
    BGdp48

    Oath Eng

    BIO
    A total geek, love everything code related. Hit me up if you ever need a serious geek discussion
    BGdp48more
    Lean in circles seems good, it’s a powerful network of peers and mentors to empower women in tech :)
    Jun 16, 2018 0
  • New / Other Liz Holmes
    I can be your mentor. When do you want to start?
    Mar 15, 2018 0
  • New rbN4xT1
    We didn't actually have mentors, but I had an unofficial mentor that was male as there was only one other female in my department (I was video game QA), and she unfortunately wasn't really the best example to follow.
    Feb 3, 2018 0