Mentoring and Diversity: An International Perspective

Chapter 1: Gender and race in mentoring relationships: a review of the literature

Regina M. O Neill

The role of mentoring for women and people of colour has become an increasingly important one. For example, as noted by Ragins, Townsend and Mattis (1998), the majority of women executives that responded to a recent survey by Catalyst identified mentoring as an important strategy used to break through the glass ceiling. In addition, scholars have pointed to the importance of mentoring relationships for people of colour (e.g. Ragins, 1997a).

Despite the recognized importance of mentoring for women and people of colour (Burke and McKeen, 1990; Noe, 1988b; O Neill, Horton and Crosby, 1999; Ragins, 1989; 1997a; 1997b; 1999; Thomas, 1990; 1993; 1999), research on the role of gender and race in mentoring relationships has only recently begun to evolve, and it is only in the past decade that increasing attention has been paid to these issues.

The purpose of this chapter is to review the literature on gender and race in mentoring relationships. In particular, this chapter is organized as follows. First, I review the role of gender and race on the likelihood of a person becoming either a prot g or a mentor. I follow this by reviewing the role of gender and race on the type of mentoring received by prot g s and provided by mentors. Next, I review how gender and race influence the outcomes of mentoring. Then, I consider the gender and race composition of mentoring relationships. I conclude the chapter with some directions for further research on race and gender, as well as on...

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