Like many women, I found traditional mentorship wasn't working for me. When I began working in PR/communications, there were no solid formal women's mentorship programs. The few mentorship programs that existed were heavily flawed. In one case, I landed in a mentor-mentee relationship that functioned more like a scene out of the movie Mean Girls.
Yet, when I looked at how mentorship functioned among my male peers I saw a distinct difference. Mentorship worked for them. Their mentors sponsored and championed them. If they were caught in unproductive mentorship models, the male mentees just left. They didn't spend time fretting over breaking off a professional relationship that wasn't working.
Over the years, I saw that mentorship was invaluable but women's mentorship was lacking something. While I created my own mentorship network and personal mentorship program, many of my female peers were having difficulties doing this. Frankly, I thought this was an issue just in my profession. But it wasn't.
I heard anecdotes about female mentorship and how it failed women. I saw examples mentorship gone wrong. In 2008, after completing some graduate work, I determined that women required a new feminist based mentorship model. I
In response, I conceptualized a new type of women's mentorship and coined the phrase "feminist mentorship gap". The question was would I have a chance to operationalize my thought experiment? This became the Feminist Mentorship Gap Project.
While studying law in 2010 at the University of Ottawa, the opportunity to take my thought experiment and make it real came along. I took my feminist mentorship gap theory and framework and founded the Women's Legal Mentorship Program (WLMP).
Since then the Women's Legal Mentorship Program (WLMP) has grown into a national not-for-profit focused on working with Canadian law schools to deliver women's legal mentorship programming and professional development. It functions as a plug and play model but with a very specific theoretical underpinning.
Currently, I am completing a book: The Feminist Mentorship Gap explaining the gap and how feminism has contributed to the issue and how it can help resolve the problem.
Some of my thoughts, challenges and views on both feminism and mentorship are chronicled her in the Feminist Mentorship Gap blog.