Print | 978-1-62956-151-6
eBook | 978-1-62956-152-3
Enhanced eBook | 978-1-62956-153-0
Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women
W. Brad Johnson, PhD & David Smith PhD
Increasingly, new employees and junior members of any profession are encouraged—sometimes stridently—to “find a mentor!” Four decades of research reveals that the effects of mentorship can be profound and enduring; strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations. Organizations that retain and promote top talent—both female and male—are more likely to thrive.
But the mentoring landscape is unequal. Evidence consistently shows that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrower range of both career and psychological benefits. Athena Rising is a book for men about how to mentor women deliberately and effectively. It is a straightforward, no-nonsense manual for helping men of all institutions, organizations, and businesses to become excellent mentors to women.
Co-authors W. Brad Johnson, PhD, and David Smith, PhD, draw from extensive research and years of experience as experts in mentoring relationships and gender workplace issues. When a man mentors a woman, they explain, the relationship is often complicated by conventional gender roles and at times hostile external perceptions. Traditional notions of mentoring are often modeled on male-to-male relationships—the sort that begin on the golf course, involve a nearly exclusive focus on career achievement, and include more than a few slaps on the back over drinks after work. But women often report a desire for mentoring that integrates career and family aspects of life. Women want a mentor who not only “gets” this, but truly honors it.
Men need to fully appreciate just how crucial their support of promising junior women can be in helping them to persist, promote, and thrive in their vocations and organizations. As women succeed, lean in, and assume leading roles in any organization or work context, that culture will become more egalitarian, effective, and prone to retaining top talent.
What people are saying
"Athena Rising reminds us that when men lean in for equality, we all benefit. Brad Johnson and David Smith have written a powerful and practical guide for men on the steps that will make a big difference for organizations and for women."
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.Org
David Smith and Brad Johnson’s book captures precisely what Catalyst research has revealed for years: It’s a win-win solution when men take intentional action to serve as mentors and sponsors, helping to accelerate progress for women in the workplace. Leaders can no longer focus only on those who look like them; mentoring and developing all talent must become a core part of any organization’s leadership style. Through engaging insights from global leaders and practical tips for men, Smith and Johnson echo Catalyst’s long-standing point that when men are part of the solution—recognizing privilege and proactively championing gender equality within their organizations—that’s when real change can occur.
- Deborah Gillis, President & Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst
“A definitive, practical guide for every man who wants to work more effectively with women. This is a book guys didn’t know we were waiting for, and it’s finally here!”
- Chuck Shelton, Chief Executive Officer, Greatheart Consulting
“Brad Johnson and David Smith have served up an exceptional treatise and handbook for male executives to learn how to become mentors to rising women of promise in all our organizations. Athena Rising is written in a captivating style while providing a practical, step by step mentoring implementation plan to advance female stars in the workplace. It should be a must read for male executive training.”
- Louis Freeh, Former Director, FBI
"Finally someone has tackled the central issue to women's advancement at work: why don't men champion female talent like they do for other men?Athena Rising answers that question and -- through story-telling and research -- inspires men to rethink reluctance and mentor for the good of their female colleagues, their companies, and, ultimately, themselves."
- Kat Gordon, Founder, The 3% Movement
“Women who have mentors are more likely to get promoted, and male mentors are key to advancement since men remain in the majority of leadership positions. Johnson’s and Smith’s manual for men on how to mentor women is especially relevant in light of a LeanIn.org study that finds one in six men are uncomfortable mentoring women after #MeToo.”
- Shelley Zalis, Forbes Women (Review)
First-time authors Johnson and Smith, both professors at the U.S. Naval Academy, hit a home run with this no-nonsense, timely guide that will benefit any man who wants to more effectively mentor or manage women in the workforce. Boldly stating that “traditionally masculine ‘command and control’ structures of hierarchical management are yesterday’s news,” and starting with a tutorial on self-awareness, the authors help the reader understand factors that harm women’s careers and interfere with productive mentoring or management relationships. Seeking to illustrate “pervasive and pernicious attitudes” in the workplace, they tackle the stereotypes of women being too nice or not assertive enough, the “double jeopardy” of racial and gender bias, and the role of maternity. Then, drawing on academic research as well as real-life stories from senior-level women in organizations such as Coca-Cola, Sodexo, KPMG, NASA, and various branches of the military, the authors offer practical ways for mentors to lead, interact with, and champion women so they can succeed. Filled with useful advice and backed up by academic research, this handbook should be on every male business leader’s reading list.
- Publishers Weekly Read it here.
Some of the 46 dos and don’ts listed in the book really resonated with me as important in truly empowering women through mentoring. So if you are a man who is mentoring a woman and you don’t have time to read the whole book, here are my top eight from the list...
- Art of Mentoring Read it here.