The exploration of available evidence on mentorship for African American women to attain executive government positions has shown that research on it is highly limited. The majority of the studies accessed through a comprehensive search of databases have indicated a significant underrepresentation of AAW in leadership positions, including the sphere of education that may influence students’ future choices. Therefore, there is a need to facilitate an environment in which leadership is nurtured and celebrated for creating mentorship programs that can enable women of color to pursue leadership positions (Johnson & Smith, 2019). Even though there are such programs as Polished Pebbles and Teach a Girl to Lead, there is a lack of research showing how the programs influence women of color’s capability to attain executive positions of leadership in the government. Thus, it is necessary to use the examples of available programs and initiatives and show whether they are effective at doing what they claim.
Undoubtedly, the programs aimed at helping women become influential leaders in various settings cannot solve the issue of female underrepresentation in leadership positions instantly (Rincón, González, & Barrero2017). Without adequate support from the government and the initiatives initiated by it, it can be challenging for non-profit organizations to help AAW become successful leaders as governmental executives. Even though the programs do include AAW as their core target audience, it is notable that they do not set the goal of helping them become successful leaders in government positions per se. For example, Polished Pebbles does not state that their leadership initiatives for girls and young women do not focus on leadership in the government as one of the routes of professional development (Polished Pebbles, 2020).
Programs that do focus on the role of women in governmental leadership positions may lack emphasis on the importance of giving AAW opportunities to become senior executives in the government. For example, the Center for American Women and Politics works comprehensively on increasing women’s involvement in US politics (CAWP, 2021). However, limited information from the organization is available on how it targets AAW and whether any resources are aimed at this population. This is not to say that the Center is ignorant to the needs of women of color; however, there is a lack of evidence to suggest that there are programs available for AAW who have historically subjected to racial and gender bias when trying to become leaders in the government.
Thus, the issue to be addressed is two-fold because of the mismatch in the way the available programs approach leadership mentorship training. On the one hand, while there are programs and initiatives that are intended to include a diverse population of women of different races and nationalities, they do not consider leadership in politics an essential objective that they should meet. On the other hand, while there are programs that work with helping women to become successful political leaders, the initiatives are not designed to help AAW to overcome the challenges of bias when attaining executive positions in any sector. To address the identified gaps, more research on the value of mentorship for AAW to become successful leaders in political executive positions is needed. The programs that are currently available should include more targeted efforts for AAW specifically and for them to become influential leaders in US politics specifically.
CAWP. (2021). Center for American Women and Politics funds research projects to identify and address barriers and opportunities to women’s political power. Web.
Rincón, V., González, M., & Barrero, K. (2017). Women and leadership: Gender barriers to senior management positions. Intangible Capital, 13(2), 319-386.
Polished Pebbles. (2020). About us. Web.
Johnson, B., & Smith, D. (2019). Real mentorship starts with company culture, not formal programs. Harvard Business Review. Web.