Sex Discrimination Limits Women’s Mentor Relationships

Many women who search for mentors in their profession have found only men in top-level positions and that these men are often unwilling to offer advice. Debra Meyerson, a researcher at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University, said that mentoring “is important for everybody, but it’s probably even more important for women.”

Ted Childs, vice-president of global work force diversity at IBM, which runs a twenty-year-old mentoring program, said that mentor relationships usually happen naturally, “But generally the beneficiaries have been white men, because they were in the senior positions, and they would mentor people who came along with whom they had things in common,” usually younger white men.

Men, however, are quickly realizing that female supervisors can provide more than adequate advice. Robert Cordero, a counselor at a rehabilitation clinic in New York, said that his views of professional women have changed. “I’m from the old school…you know, men are men, and we don’t need to be asking the women. But I’ve gotten past that. She’s helped me with that,” Cordero said. “I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at professionally [without her advice].”


Washington Post - March 23, 1998

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