Supporting women graduates from ethnic minority backgrounds: this is the mission of the Revel@Her mentoring programme run by the Club XXIème Siècle. As a partner of the programme for the second…
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20 Apr 2021

Supporting women graduates from ethnic minority backgrounds: this is the mission of the Revel@Her mentoring programme run by the Club XXIème Siècle. As a partner of the programme for the second consecutive year, the EDHEC Open Leadership for Diversity & Inclusion Chair undertook a survey on the effects of the support provided to mentees. The programme helps participants overcome the problems associated with the double glass ceiling they face as a result of their gender and ethnic origin. The results from the latest edition show the programme serves as a real confidence-booster for these women and helps them take their career in hand.

Women originating from ethnic minority backgrounds share at least two characteristics likely to hinder them on the job market: their gender and their ethnic origin. These characteristics often combine with other barriers that can also influence their career prospects (age, social origin, cultural differences, perception of religion, etc.). These women can be confronted with stereotypes that distort the way they are perceived, treated and evaluated at work. This then makes it harder for them to access the information and codes enabling them to forge their way in professional circles. Without necessarily recognising these barriers, these women share the feeling that “beyond the abilities and the efforts made, there’s always something that’s not right, that the path is littered with obstacles”.

Mentoring: a key to finding their bearings in the labyrinth of professional life

It is precisely the combination of these criteria of discrimination that is hard to understand and to overcome. This explains why the Club XXIème Siècle set up the Revel@Her programme and wanted to measure the impact with the help of the EDHEC Open Leadership for Diversity & Inclusion Chair.
The 2020 edition of the mentoring programme involved 20 participants, all higher education graduates, with an average of nearly 10 years of career experience in highly varied sectors.

The nine-month programme comprises individual support (sessions with a Club XXIème Siècle mentor), as well as regular workshops (leadership conference, meetings with inspirational people and testimonies).
The results of the survey conducted by the Chair’s researchers show the programme yields benefits for mentees both in terms of their career and well-being.

REVEL@HER develops a sense of sorority 

The programme is designed to help participants attain tangible objectives: learn to communicate better, improve their visibility and recognition, find a better work-life balance, develop professional networks, better understand company codes, while also meeting inspirational people. By bringing these women together around a dynamic process of exchange and experience-sharing, the programme helps them develop a sense of sorority, this being one of the major contributions of Revel@Her. The goal is to create strong links between the women that endure long after they have completed the programme, thanks to the complicity, mutual help and sense of solidarity nurtured throughout their time together.   

A confidence-booster to take their careers in hand  

  • 95% of participants believe that their self-confidence has improved, while the index of self-esteem rose 10% for the group of mentees.
  • The participants feel they know themselves better (90% of them) and are more proactive in grasping new career opportunities (85%).
  • For some of the mentees, the programme triggered requests for a pay rise (40%) and/or a promotion (30%).

A better work-life balance for the benefit of their relations    

  • Half the participants consider they are now managing their work-life balance better.
  • 60% have noticed an improvement in their relations with those close to them (private sphere) and with their colleagues (professional sphere).

Recognition of the strength of their network

  • 95% feel more at ease in developing their professional network.
    • Because they have understood the issues
    • Because they have learned how to exploit formal and informal networks
    • Because they have bolstered their relational network

Changing perceptions : understanding barriers to overcome them better  

  • 90% of mentees are more aware of stereotypes and 85% of discrimination in the workplace
  • 80% consider they have a greater chance of breaking the double glass ceiling

More than a double glass ceiling, the participants in the programme face a sinuous pathway fraught with dead-ends. As women originating from ethnic minority backgrounds, they often find it harder to forge their way through the labyrinth of professional life and realise their objective. Thanks to this mentoring, they regain confidence in themselves, bolster their networks and learn to find their bearings in this labyrinth

explains Hager Jemel, Director of the Open Leadership Chair

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