"Leadership and mentoring programs aim to increase women’s skills and confidence to take on leadership roles, while introducing them to networks which may facilitate greater access to leadership positions in the workplace or on committees and councils.

Mentoring often forms part of leadership development programs as a strategy to introduce women to the ‘informal’ culture of workplaces or communities at a senior level, and to assist women to establish both formal and informal networks which may facilitate their path to leadership positions. Evidence from program evaluations of the efficacy of mentoring, leadership and networking programs for women suggest that:

  • *A mentor is not an instructor or teacher in the traditional sense; rather, mentors model leadership skills and support young women to develop confidence in their own capacity.
  • *Mentoring programs must involve careful selection and matching of mentors and mentees for an effective mentoring relationship to develop.
  • *Mentoring provides women with opportunities to receive informal career guidance and advice from their mentor, as well as a chance to experience workplace culture and to make contacts/network with senior women.
  • *Effective leadership programs for women are ones which strengthen women’s ability to initiate and respond to change within a community or sector, offer exposure to challenging and informative role models, and affirm women’s existing strengths in relation to leadership and management skills and abilities.
  • *Increasing the self-esteem and confidence of women, as well as their skill base, is central to the success of leadership and mentoring programs.
  • *Programs that offer a multi-level approach to leadership development, involving formal training, mentoring and networking, provide a wide breadth of learning experiences for women. Each component of the program supports and reinforces the others.
  • *Mentors can benefit from mentoring programs as much as mentees, particularly through the increased job satisfaction that comes through the mentoring relationship."

Source: report on the pilot Young Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Programme funded by the Office for Women.

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