Mentoring and sponsorship are essential activities in the professional development of both men and women. These forms of relationships often form between individuals who have common interests, or when the junior member reminds the more senior member of themselves. In paramedicine, the number of men in leadership positions usually means that other men are the ones who end up mentored and sponsored. It can be the case that junior women find it difficult to find similar levels of personal and career support since there are fewer women in leadership positions.
I proudly sponsor two women with potential in paramedicine – Paige Mason, and Chelsea Lanos, both paramedics in the Ottawa region. I also mentor several women, and men, in their career development and success. I am a member of MARC – Men Advocating Real Change, an organisation that is committed to achieving workplace gender equality through effective partnership with men. MARC is an initiative of Catalyst, the leading nonprofit organization expanding opportunities for women and business.
At MARC, we strive for gender equality not just because it makes good business sense, but because it transforms lives, strengthens families, benefits communities, and helps grow economies. We want to have important discussions about what can be done to further the cause of equality and to support one another as we advocate for change whenever we discover injustice.
I personally strongly believe in an equal playing field for men and women where success and advancement are truly based on merit rather than politics. Until that occurs however, we need to accept that women have less opportunity to advance than men – they are over-mentored, and under-sponsored.
What’s the difference?
If you’re interested in sponsoring, I can highly recommend the following publications and resources to help you figure out where to start and how to create a successful sponsoring relationship.
- Abbott I. Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know. Golden, CO: Attorney at Work. 2014. (ISBN: 978-0-9895293-1-0)
- Abbott I. Sponsoring Women: What Women Need to Know. Available from: https://www.attorneyatwork.com/sponsoring-women-resources/. 2015.
- Catalyst Inc. Sponsoring Women To Success. Available from: https://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/sponsoring-women-success. 2011.
- Hewlett S, Peraino K, Sherbin L, Sumberg K. The Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Last Glass Ceiling. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing. 2010. (Available from: https://hbr.org/product/the-sponsor-effect-breaking-through-the-last-glass-ceiling/10428-PDF-ENG)
- Janjuha-Jivraj S. & Chisholm K. Championing Women Leaders: Beyond Sponsorship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; 2016. (ISBN: 978-1-349-55554-3)