Driving Inclusion: The Transformative Impact of Mentorship

By: Chantelle Krish. 

As we commemorate another International Women’s Day, the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’ reminds us of the ongoing need to create spaces where every woman feels a sense of belonging and empowerment. From boardrooms to classrooms, the call for inclusion echoes through every corner, urging us to embrace the role we all play in advancing gender equity.

In business, fostering a culture of inclusion isn’t just a moral imperative—it’s a strategic advantage, and mentorship, both formal and informal, can help pave the way. Mentorship fosters inclusion by providing women with access to networks, guidance, and opportunities that might otherwise be inaccessible, breaking down barriers and empowering them to advance professionally. Through mentorship, women can receive valuable advice, support, and advocacy, helping to level the playing field and ensure their voices are heard and their talents recognized in the workplace. By actively engaging in mentorship initiatives, businesses not only demonstrate their commitment to gender equity and inclusion but also cultivate a more supportive and equitable work environment where everyone can succeed.

Mentorship as a catalyst for change

Mentors not only offer guidance but also serve as catalysts for change, drawing on lived experiences to advocate for policies like flexible work arrangements that accommodate diverse needs. Despite progress, challenges persist, from the glass ceiling to the gender pay gap. Mentorship programs provide women with the tools and support necessary to navigate these obstacles and move into leadership positions.

At a younger age, the impact of a mentor can be lifechanging. Girls encounter unique barriers, with alarming statistics highlighting disparities in mental health and sexual assault. Young women aged 15 to 17 face greater risks, being twice as likely to be hospitalized for mental health concerns and 4.6 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault compared to their male peers.

Big Sisters fills the mentorship gap 

At Big Sisters, our mission is to combat these challenges through evidence-based mentorship programs tailored for girls and youth. These initiatives not only foster positive mental health and educational outcomes but also cultivate strong social connections. We understand the transformative impact of having just one stable, committed adult in a young person’s life.

However, for many of the girls we serve, this support feels out of reach. Research from the University of British Columbia suggests that a significant portion of children in the BC Lower Mainland lack adult care and relationships. This gap leaves young women vulnerable to unconscious bias, harassment, and inequity as they navigate the world.

By addressing these disparities and providing inclusive mentorship, we can empower the next generation of women to thrive despite the obstacles they face.

Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland is centered on the prevention and empowerment of girls and gender diverse youth through various mentorship programs led by dedicated volunteers. Little Sisters engaged in our initiatives showcase resilience and extraordinary potential. Consider joining us as a volunteer mentor and help shape the next generation of leaders in our community.

For more information on how to get involved visit: Bigsisters.bc.ca/getinvolved