Each year in March, we celebrate Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the pivotal role women have played in shaping American history, culture and society. Throughout history and certainly today, women and girls have blazed pathways to progress and change for the benefit of us all. In many cases, they have done so with the support and influence of the women who came before them. These women believed in them, expanded their horizons, and opened their minds to new possibilities. This kind of mentorship is an integral component of the proven Girls Inc. Experience. We have seen firsthand how these long-lasting and trusting relationships make a significant difference in girls’ development.
Girls with Mentors Thrive
Informed by our proven work to help girls thrive, we know that one crucial support girls need to rise up as leaders are the right relationships. Girls who have the mentoring relationships and the all-girl, pro-girl environment that Girls Inc. offers are more likely than their peers to have positive relationships with adults and see them as allies, as well as to see themselves as leaders. Role models and mentors help support girls as they shift their perceptions about leadership and tap into their potential as leaders. When girls have models of success and the perspectives of strong women, they thrive.
The Mentorship Difference
Mentoring, at its core, guarantees a young person that he or she matters, is understood, and lets them know that they are not alone in dealing with their daily challenges. According to MENTOR, students with mentors are 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school. Students at risk of not attending college but who have a mentor are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. Additionally, mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them. But unfortunately one in three young people will grow up without any kind of adult mentorship.
Showing a Path Forward
There continues to be a significant gender gap in the STEM fields and with regard to leadership in a broad range of fields, from business to politics to entertainment. Women comprise just 28 percent of all CEOs, 23 percent of all law partners, 20 percent of members of Congress, and 18 percent of governors. Women accounted for just 18 percent of all the directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors who worked on the top-grossing 250 domestic films of 2017. For many girls, mentors help expose them to educational and career pathways they would not have otherwise considered.
Support Every Day, Every Way
At Girls Inc., our mentors build lasting, trusting relationships and create safe spaces for girls to take risks and push themselves. Girls Inc. mentors are there to support girls everyday and every step of the way. They help to provide girls with the skills and knowledge they need to counter stereotypes and obstacles and achieve their goals. Claire Jensen, a senior in high school, reflects on her time spent at Girls Inc. of YWCA of Minneapolis: “Girls Inc. mentors have taken my dream of being a role model and helped me cultivate and develop a plan for my future. I know that these mentors will be with me every step of the way until I achieve that dream, and even beyond it.”
Helping girls have the right relationships ensure they have the support to grow up strong, smart, and bold. Please consider giving to Girls inc. to ensure more girls have the opportunity to build trusting, encouraging and inspiring mentor relationships. And get involved! Support local and federal policies that fund effective mentorship programs, encourage your company to implement a mentoring program — and consider being a mentor too.