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Supporting Women in Business Through the Power of Mentoring


March 8, 2024

Supporting Women in Business Through the power of Mentoring

As part of the ABM’s International Women's Day celebrations, this month's Words of Wisdom episode takes a closer look at how mentoring can support women in business and create a more inclusive and supportive business environment.  

ABM celebrates International Women’s Day 2024

Hosted by ABM CEO Georgina Waite and ABM Director Gary King with guests ABM Full Members &  Kathie O’Donoghue & Philippa Seal, this episode provides valuable insights into barriers women face in business, how women in business and the workplace can be supported through mentoring and the role of ABM in supporting women in business.

Usually only available for ABM Members, this Words of Wisdom episode is available to all. Listen to the podcast below or read on for a summary of key insights.

Why is this issue so important to the workplace and wider business landscape?

ABM CEO Georgina Waite, begins the podcast by highlighting the importance of an inclusive workspace and business landscape. Studies show that women in senior positions lead to better company performance by 20%, stronger culture, governance, empathy and collaboration. Georgina highlighted other important trends, including the increasing number of female founded businesses  and the positive impact of women in boardrooms. The importance of this issue to society and the economy is underlined by the importance it is given to both government and other political parties in their economic and business policies.  

“Women want and need to work, the world has changed.” - Georgina Waite, ABM CEO

How have barriers and life changes during your career impacted your workplace journey to being a business owner?

The podcast delved into the personal journeys of Philippa, Kathie, and Georgina, discussing how barriers and life changes impacted their paths to becoming business owners.  Philippa highlighted the economic reasons why women may not venture into risky entrepreneurship early on, often finding success later in life. Raising a family for example poses unique challenges, making mentoring support crucial to overcome those challenges. Kathie further added that as someone navigating the challenges of the menopause while managing three businesses, mentoring can be a massive support to throughout this period of shifting priorities and changing dynamics. Georgina shared insights into how personal factors like raising children impacted her mindset, decision-making, and future aspirations in her journey, highlighting the enormous impact mentoring had on her career.

What are other barriers women continue to face in the business world?  

The discussion identified several general barriers that women still face in the business landscape:

  • Perception Challenges: Stereotypes in specific industries being "male-dominated" and societal expectations of women's roles pose barriers to career advancement.
  • Old Hierarchical Structures: Traditional hierarchical structures and reliance on old networks like "golf day" contacts can impede progress.
  • Family and Care Responsibilities: The "motherhood penalty", i.e. lack of flexible working hours, limited paternity leave and challenges when re-entering the workforce.
  • Health-Related Issues: Menopause, periods, imposter syndrome, and lack of confidence are specific challenges more likely faced by women in the business world.
  • Financial Hurdles: Gender bias in funding, credit rating disparities, and limited access to finance hinder female founders' progress.
  • Role Model Gap: Lack of female role models in business can contribute to a lack of inspiration and guidance for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
What difference does mentoring make to female business owners or women in the workplace? How as mentors do we change our level of support in this instance?

The podcast explored the transformative impact of mentoring on female business owners and women in the workplace. Kathie highlighted the importance of mentors being agile and adapting to changing priorities of their mentees. This adaptability allows mentors to focus on listening skills, providing tailored support during critical life changes. Philippa emphasised the unique challenges faced by female owners and how mentoring fills gaps, particularly in networking opportunities and navigating corporate landscapes.

How can the ABM support me?

Kathie and Philippa discussed the concept of progress in this area and how the ABM can support women in business through mentoring and supervision. Gary shared reflections on the importance of male advocates, underlining the need for collective efforts in supporting women in business.  

International Women’s Day Activity throughout March and beyond

Throughout March we will be releasing a series of blog articles in collaboration with our partner Netwomen as well as announce upcoming initiatives for later in the year. Read Netwomen’s article ‘Barriers in the workplace’ here. ABM members can also sign up for this month’s Mentor Motivation session, which is focused on mentoring through the Menopause.  

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