Career Promoters: A Gender Divide

Career Promoters: A Gender Divide

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2107-7.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter aims to: discuss the complexities involved in mentoring and networking for women; identify how mentoring and networking can be advantageous in supporting women’s careers and aid women in terms of career development and progression; and illustrate how women may be disadvantaged in the workplace, due to a gender divide in terms of access to mentors, female role models, and appropriate networking opportunities. These issues are especially issues for women working in male dominated occupations and industries.
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Mentoring

The dictionary definition of a mentor is “a wise and trusted counsellor or teacher” (www.dictionary.com). Mentoring is a relationship, traditionally between two people, the mentor who is the more experienced and the mentee or protégé, the inexperienced. Generally defined, mentoring is an activity in which an individual with advanced knowledge or experience actively provides assistance and support to enhance the career development of an individual with less knowledge and experience (Kram, 1985; Hayden, 2006). Mentoring can also bridge the gap between the educational process and the real-world experience (Barker, 2005). Researchers have purported that mentoring holds many benefits, especially benefits related to career development/progression for those who are mentored (Ragins and Cotton, 1999; Nielson, Carlson, and Lankau, 2001; Goldman and Schmalz, 2001; Allen et al., 2004). Research has looked at the potential benefits of mentoring for the mentor (Koskinen and Tossavainen 2003; Allen, Lentz, and Day, 2006; Allen, Eby, and Lentz, 2006). Many of the articles included in this review have tended to come from the US (i.e. Kram, 1985; Ragins, 1989; Allen, Eby, and Lentz, 2006). However, there are numerous articles from Britain, Australia and Europe (Durbin and Tomlinson, 2010, Durbin, 2011, Tibbals, 2011, Ramaswami, Dreher, Bretz and Wiethoff, 2010, Linehan and Walsh, 1999, Fowler and O’Gorman, 2005 Kroskinen and Tossavarinen, 2003).

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