Women Ahead: Empowerment Through Mentorship
By Carolina Ruiz
One of the key factors supporting any student throughout her career is the right mentorship. By learning from others, we gain perspective on what a career in medicine will look like. We learn from someone else’s experiences and can apply these experiences to our own futures.
Women have established their presence in the professional world in many ways, yet the amount of females fulfilling the role of mentors to younger generations is still scarce.
Mentors are critical for professional as well as personal growth. In focusing on specific qualities for development, mentees obtain knowledge on how to further their growth and network. This builds self-confidence that can come into play in the pursuit of a professional career.
Within certain institutions, mentoring can also help break barriers. Certain organizations still exhibit gender disparities and in creating mentorship programs, women can navigate a path to equality. At times, bonds can even be formed between a mentor and a mentee, specifically when sharing similar life experiences. This is particularly important when it comes to constructing institutions of diversity and minority group representation.
At young ages, mentorship can also give women a role model to look up to. Young girls can regard someone who inspires them for a lifetime and make many of their decisions based on the success they’ve seen in others. Through positive role model experiences, young girls are more likely to pursue higher education careers, especially when they’ve seen other women overcome gender inequality in the workplace.
Guidance can build a new attitude in young women to fight for their positions; to defy existing norms; and to further develop their strengths in order to reach their full potential.
The work to showcase women as available mentors still needs improvement, but many institutions have already developed programs specifically geared toward this empowerment. Whether it be the help of professors, staff, or any candidate who can contribute to female professional development, any guidance can make a major difference in female students’ lives. In the words of Supreme Court Justice and one of my own role models Sonia Sotomayor, “A role model in the flesh provides more than an inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying ‘yes someone like me can do this.’”
Below I’ve highlighted programs designed for both younger generations and premedical, undergraduate students in the pursuit of mentorship.
High School and Younger Generation Mentorship Programs:
- CUNY School of Medicine Health Professions Mentorship Program
- University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Educational Pipeline Program
- Step Up
- Young Women Empowered
Pre-med Mentorship Programs: