Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women

Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women by W. Brad Johnson, PhD & David Smith PhD

by W. Brad Johnson PhD and 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. more

Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women by W. Brad Johnson, PhD & David Smith PhDW. Brad Johnson, PhD is a professor of psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy, and a faculty associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. He is a Clinical Psychologist and a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, having served at Bethesda Naval Hospital and at Pearl Harbor Naval Base. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Johnson is the author of more than one hundred journal articles and book chapters—most on the topic of mentoring—and thirteen books on mentoring, professional ethics, and counseling, including The Elements of Mentoring and Becoming a Leader the Annapolis Way. Brad blends a warm, personable style, humor and evidence-based best practices to inspire and equip audiences for excellent mentorship.

David David Smith, PhD is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law at the United States Naval Academy, having served four years as the chair. As a sociologist trained in military sociology and social psychology, he focuses his research in gender, work, and family issues including dual career families, military families, women in the military, and retention of women. Dr. Smith is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters—many on the topic of gender in the workplace.