How mentoring can help women get to the top in development

Photo by: Karl Magnuson on Unsplash

LONDON — Mentoring schemes are increasingly seen as a valuable tool to support women climbing the career ladder and address the enduring gender gap at the top of the international development sector, where men still dominate the majority of senior management positions.  

The recent spate of stories of sexual abuse and harassment emerging from the aid sector, as well as from other industries, also serves to reiterate that there is a long way to go before women are likely to feel equal in the workplace.

But while women working in professional services firms often have access to formalized mentoring schemes, such as the 30 Percent Club, female development workers have fewer options.

Some organizations do offer mentoring schemes — for example, Oxfam GB has been running a mentoring scheme specifically targeting women at the headquarter level for three years; while the Aspire Foundation connects mentors with a business background to aspiring female nonprofit leaders. However, there is currently no cross-organizational or cross-development mentoring option out there for women.

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About the author

  • Edwards sopie

    Sophie Edwards

    Sophie Edwards is a reporter for Devex based in London covering global development news including global education, water and sanitation, innovative financing, the environment along with other topics. She has previously worked for NGOs, the World Bank and spent a number of years as a journalist for a regional newspaper in the U.K. She has an MA from the Institute of Development Studies and a BA from Cambridge University.