Inside The Tampon Book. Photograph: Cedric Soltani/Studio Dropped
Why I Pledged My Time to 2 Million Mentor Minutes

On International Women’s Day, I was ecstatic to see a hashtag floating around social calling for women (and men) leaders to donate their time to a campaign called #2millionmentorminutes. The campaign organized by The Wie Suite was a call out to the more than two million women who have been forced out of the workforce over the past year due to the pandemic.

So, I donated my time to mentor a woman in my industry to help be a sounding board and guide.

Why Do We Need Mentorship for Women?

According to Statistics Canada’s job numbers in January 2021, the Canadian economy had 858,000 fewer jobs throughout the pandemic. But that loss isn’t being experienced equally among men and women.

Women, especially ones not earning much, are disproportionately affected. Whether it’s because they work in hard-hit industries like high-contact jobs in personal care or hospitality or because they have had to assume care duties at home, women are shouldering the brunt of the pandemic’s economic slap in the face.

As vaccines start to rollout and provinces attempt re-openings, we need to support women re-entering the workforce. Whether it’s with advice or opportunities, those of us able to lend a hand must do so.

White Woman Privilege Moment

I was excited to chat with my mentee, a woman in the real estate industry. With my experience building and scaling a successful company in a male-dominated industry, I anticipate hearing about sexism and gender bias.

But as she told me about her experience in our shared industry – my blood pressure rose.

My mentee shared details about her run-ins with sexism and started to tell me about the racism she experiences as a visible minority.

I’ve gotta tell you…it lit a fire of rage inside me.

But it also made me pause and recognize my position of privilege. Yes, I face sexism – even as a CEO. But I’m also a well-off White woman in a predominantly White province. I’ve never encountered the barriers and discrimination my mentee has faced as a competent, skilled professional in our industry. It is unacceptable. We need to do better as an industry and as a province.

Do Your Part

I am grateful for the time I spent listening to my mentee’s story and guiding and advising her on the next steps she could take to grow her career. Not continue her career as-is – advance it.

One thing that media stories about pandemic job loss fail to capture is the uphill battle women returning to work will face at making up for “lost” time. Whether it’s after an absence like maternity leave or doing the unsung work of carrying a family during the pandemic, women are expected to accept standing still instead of being supported to advance further than they were when they left.

I urge leaders in all industries to take time from their day and do their part by offering mentorship time and helping women in their fields with referrals, introductions and opportunities to help lift them up. Take one hour a month and speak to a woman who is looking for work or their next step – not only could it open your eyes to hear how someone else is experiencing life, you might just meet your next hire.

Further Reading…

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