7 reasons why women need sponsors

Sponsorship is vital in female career progression

It is clear that women need sponsors to boost their careers – find out why.

Mentors and sponsors serve different purposes, but their end goal is the same: To support an individual to achieve their professional and personal goals.


  A Mentor is defined as: a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) normally working in a similar field or sharing similar experiences


 A Sponsor is defined as:  a senior leader or other person who uses strong influence to help the protégé obtain high-visibility assignments, promotions, or jobs. The protégé will be held accountable for delivery high level results.

Women need sponsors

There are many reasons why women need sponsors. Research suggests that when women have sponsors they are more likely to achieve career success than men. When men are mentored, their mentor is likely to be more senior and also play a strong role as a sponsor. Men are also mentored differently to women. With women, the mentoring focus tends to be on confidence building and skill set development. However men are groomed in navigating the subtext of corporate culture. This is organisational politics while women are not taught this, or at least not to the same extent.

Use our Mentoring Services to get some advice from a senior, neutral woman you can confide in. Download our eBook Make the Most of Mentoring

There is much discussion on the value of mentoring. It is less fashionable today than it was five years ago and in some circles it is being dismissed with the click bait sound bite that “women are over mentored.”  Many women have neither mentors nor sponsors. The reality is that both mentoring and sponsorship programmes play key roles in the career progression of any employee. Unlike a mentor, a sponsor is someone who not only advises a protégée on her career, but actively helps advance it. They have influence and power in their organization and can use their social capital and credibility to advocate for, promote, protect, prepare and motivate them. If a protégée fails to deliver to expectation, it reflects on the sponsor. He or she is staking their personal reputation, which involves an element of risk with any endorsement.

7 reasons why women need sponsors

  1. Unlike mentoring in many cases, sponsorship makes a tangible impact on career progression. 70% of men and 68% of women who have had a sponsor report satisfaction with their career advancement.
  2. Women with sponsors are 27% more likely than their female peers without a sponsor to ask for a salary increase.
  3. A Sponsorship Programme is vital to advancing the careers of high potential talent. This gives them opportunities to reach their potential through competence development, increased visibility and stretch assignments. Women are 22% more likely to ask for the “stretch assignments” that enhance their reputations as leaders. The reality is that sponsors better position women to advance in the workplace.
  4. Sponsors offer tangible benefits directly and indirectly to organisations. This grows more effective and diverse leaders and teams capable of reaching agreed objectives.
  5. They enrich the experience of the sponsors, facilitating soft skill enhancement and leadership skill development (attentive listening, delivering constructive feedback, goal setting and motivation)
  6. Sponsorship Programmes are key differentiators in grooming women as high visibility role models within organisations. They can then inspire and motivate junior employees.
  7. Sponsorship programmes form part of an Employer Branding used in attracting and hiring top female talent.

Contact us now to get support for the women in your workplace with one of our Mentoring Programmes.

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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