The Wednesday Weigh-in: Mentoring Edition

According to a new study by LinkedIn, one in five professional women in the U.S. has never had a mentor.

The survey of nearly 1,000 women found that 52% of women without mentors said they’d just never found “someone appropriate” and 67% of women who had never been mentors said it was because they’d never been asked. Yet 82% of women agreed that mentorship is important.

The good news is that with more working women than ever before, finding women mentors seems to be getting easier. Over half of Gen Y women had been mentored by another woman, compared to 43% of Gen X women and only 34% of Boomers.

I’ve never had a shortage of truly incredible mentors–both men and women–in school, on the soccer field, in my career, and on the interwebs. But then again, I’ve also been operating in pretty women-dominated arenas for awhile, so I probably have a skewed sense.

So what about you? Have you had a hard time finding mentors? If so, how come? Is it because you are too picky, lazy, or full of yourself? What are the barriers to effective mentoring between women in your experience?

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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