Enhancing Women's Networking Through Cyber Mentoring

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Enhancing Women's Networking Through Cyber Mentoring

Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education

Gender in Education Network in Asia (GENIA)

Enhancing

Women’s Networking

Through Cyber Mentoring

A Case Study from the Republic of Korea


Enhancing Women’s Networking

through Mentoring Programmes

A Case Study from the Republic of

Korea

Dr. Namhee Kim

Korean Women’s Development Institute

Dr. Jin-Ah Lee

Sejong Leadership Development Institute

August 2005


Kim, Namhee and Lee, Jin-Ah

Enhancing women’s networking through mentoring programmes: a case

study from the Republic of Korea. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok, 2006.

30 p

1. Mentoring. 2. Women – networking. 3. Cybernetics. 4. Girls education. 4.

Korea, Republic

ISBN 92-9223-079-4

© UNESCO 2006

Published by the

UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education

920 Sukhumvit Rd., Prakanong

Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Printed in Thailand

The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout the

publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the

part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or

area or of its authorities, or concerning its frontiers or boundaries.


CONTENTS

Abstract 1

1. Introduction 2

1.1 Background to the study 2

1.2 Aim of the study 2

1.3 Organization of the report 2

2. Literature Review on Mentoring 4

2.1 Definitions of mentoring 4

2.2 Formal cyber-mentoring 4

2.3 Functions of women’s mentoring 5

2.4 Effects of mentoring for women 6

3. Case Study: Cyber-Mentoring for Women by the Ministry of Gender

Equality (MOGE), Republic of Korea 7

3.1 Title: Women-net Cyber-Mentoring 7

3.2 Objectives 7

3.3 Process 7

3.4 Results 13

4. Evaluation: Lessons Learned 14

4.1 Documentary Analysis of the Cyber-Mentoring System 14

4.2 Interview Analysis of the Effect of Cyber-Mentoring 20

5. Implications for Girls’ Education in Other Asian Countries 27

5.1 Strategic provision of women’s role models 27

5.2 Application of mentoring programme to young girls’ group 27

5.3 Career counseling and strengthening vocational education

for girls 27

5.4 Emphasizing women’s networking 28

5.5 Importance of adult education for women 28

5.6 Application of mentoring to various contexts 28

References 29


Abstract

This report was prepared to introduce the cyber-mentoring programme

for women by the Ministry of Gender Equality in the Republic of Korea. This

programme contributes to the enhancement of women’s networking, and has

been disseminated to other fields in the country. Women’s cyber-mentoring

basically focuses on one-to-one relationships through the Internet between

professional women (mentors) and younger girls who wish to work, or who are

in the early stages of their careers (mentees) in the same field. The Government

recruits participants and matches couples. Matched couples communicate for a

year through a closed board on a website called Women-net, which is a public

portal website especially designed for women.

Through a documentary analysis of the programme, it was found that its

management should be improved in several areas, such as the period of

participation, matching methods, encouragement and monitoring, and group

and peer mentoring. In addition, an interview analysis of the outcomes of this

programme produced interesting results. First, the participants experienced

the advantages and obstacles of cyber- mentoring. Second, women mentors

mainly provided psychosocial functions, such as counseling or support, rather

than practical career functions, which the participants found satisfying. Third, the

interview results showed that women’s level of self-confidence, self-awareness,

and gender-sensitivity had been elevated. Moreover, mentoring was found to be

successful in providing role models to these young women. However, although

mentoring contributed to forming successful one-to-one relationships, it was

not effective in creating further networking among the women’s group.

Based on these findings, it is suggested that target groups and areas of mentoring

be specialized and disseminated to other fields at various levels as a model

projects in the future. This mentoring programme also has implications for other

Asian countries in terms of girls’ education: strategic provisions for women’s role

models, application of mentoring programmes for young girls’ group and in

other various context, career counseling and strengthening education for girls,

women’s networking and adult education for women.


1. Introduction

1.1 Background to the study

Participation in society is essential for women in order to improve their overall

status. Therefore, having successful women as role models is important. However,

in reality, it is not easy to find such female role models who achieve success in both

their work and personal lives. Generally, women have held a lower status than

men and have been the mainly responsible for doing housework in addition to

their occupations. Young women tend to be inactive and fear obtaining jobs due

to a lack of opportunities and experience in their desired professions. Therefore,

there is a need to encourage young women to be confident by showing them

successful female role models.

Traditionally fixed ideas of gender roles and male-dominated workplace climates

are the most significant factors impeding women from forming their own

professional networks. Women are not readily able to access the conventional

male professional networks; therefore, women tend to be less privileged in terms

of career development. In particular, for societies based on strong personal

relationships in which informal information is exchanged, women have found

themselves working under less than fair job conditions (Cho, 1998). Within

this reality, women must be given more chances to improve their own female

networking. In doing so, they can seek assistance in order to play a more active

role in various fields of society, and to succeed in their professional endeavors.

1.2 Aim of the study

Since 2001, the Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE), Korea, introduced the Cyber-

Mentoring for Women (CMW) programme. This is the first mentoring programme

for women in general, conducted by the Government of Republic of Korea on a

national level. This initiative is now considered to be one of the most successful

government programme. As a result, similar programmes have been introduced

to other fields and organizations, such as schools, local governments, and other

ministries in Korea. In addition, the mass media often cover relevant news

regarding this programme. Hence, the aim of this study is to review CMW and

to evaluate its process and effects in providing implications for girls’ education in

other Asian countries.


1.3 Organization of the report

This report consists of four parts. First, the literature is reviewed on mentoring,

such as its definitions, the characteristics of cyber-mentoring, and effects of

mentoring for women. Second, CMW is introduced step-by-step. Third, CMW

is evaluated in a qualitative manner through analyzing relevant documents,

reports, and news, in addition to interview results. The research findings are then

summarized. Fourth, there is reflective commentary on the findings, leading to

suggestions for other Asian countries.


2. Literature Review on Mentoring

The aim of this literature review is to define some related concepts in

understanding CMW. In this section, definitions of mentoring will be thoroughly

examined. In addition, cyber-mentoring, functions and the effects of mentoring

for women will also be discussed.

2.1 Definitions of mentoring

Mentoring--from the Greek word meaning to endure--is defined as a sustained

relationship between a youth and an adult. Through continued involvement,

the adult offers support, guidance, and assistance as the younger person goes

through a difficult period facing new challenges and continually striving to

improve earlier problems in their lives. In particular, when parents are either

unavailable or unable to provide responsible guidance for their children, mentors

can play a critical role in a youth’s professional development.

The poet, Homer, in his great work, The Odyssey, first used the word “mentor.” This

‘mentor’ was a friend of Odysseus, entrusted with the education of Odysseus’s

son, Telemachus. The mentor was responsible for making Telemachus a great

ruler before Odysseus left for war against Troy. Indeed, ancient Greece long

held the custom in which a young man is matched with an experienced older

man from a father’s friends or relatives in order to learn values and experiences.

According to Webster’s dictionary, a mentor is defined as a wise and trusted

counselor, guide, or leader. It is widely accepted that a mentor is an experienced

senior who can give wisdom and can provide support to a mentee as a role

model for one’s adaptation to an organization and for one’s career development

(Kram, 1985; Noe, 1988).

2.2 Formal cyber-mentoring

The two main types of mentoring are natural mentoring and planned mentoring.

Natural mentoring occurs through friendship, teaching, coaching, and counseling.

In contrast, planned mentoring occurs through structured programmes in which

mentors and participants are selected and matched through formal processes.

Organizations often create formal relationships on an organizational level. For

example, in the late 1970s, large enterprises such as Fedex, GM, or AT&T operated

mentoring programmes successfully in the US. Likewise, in Republic of Korea,

several large enterprises have experienced mentoring programmes’ usefulness

and effectiveness.


Mentoring is classified according to the structure of a relationship as one-toone

mentoring, group mentoring, and peer mentoring (Ritchie & Genoni, 1999).

The traditional way of mentoring has been one-to-one. Group mentoring refers

to the idea that a teacher usually instructs more than one student with similar

goals and purposes. Peer mentoring refers to the way in which peers with similar

attributes and characteristics help, guide, and support one another.

In e-mentoring or cyber-mentoring, the main contacts are done by distant

communication systems. This type of mentoring does not require a face-to-face

meeting. Instead, relationships are formed by interactions through the Internet.

The advantages of cyber-mentoring are summarized as follows (Birchall &

Houldsworth, 1995; Knouse, 2001):

• Making relationships beyond limited time and place

• Communicating through writing

• Maximizing effectiveness in conjunction with off-line activity

• In-depth conversation through friendly and personal networks between

mentor and mentee

• Being the most trendy form of mentoring if the Internet is easily available

2.3 Functions of women’s mentoring

The leading researcher on mentoring, K.E.Kram (1983), classifies the functions

of mentoring into career functions and psychosocial functions. Career functions

include sponsorship, exposure and visibility, coaching, protection, and challenging

assignments. On the other hand, psychosocial functions mainly focus on the

role model, acceptance and confirmation, counseling, and friendship. For those

who do not have common interests in terms of jobs, psychosocial functions can

have a greater significance than career functions. Particularly for women, there

is research showing that psychosocial functions are more influential than career

functions (Burke, 1984).

The function of mentoring may be different according to a mentee’s social

status. Women in lower class positions seek role models and advice on how to

perform roles, while those with upper class status are interested in advice on

moving up the career ladder in an organization (Fitt & Newton, 1981). In addition,

it is reported that women expect mentoring to provide them with ways of

achieving confidence, counseling, feedback concerning their shortcomings, and

encouragement (Fitt & Newton, 1981; Reich, 1985).


2.4 Effects of mentoring for women

According to Noe (1998), it is difficult for women in an organization to benefit

from mentoring because there are not many women with senior professional

status. Mentoring from men is limited, both socially and psychologically, which is

why some argue that having a mentor is very critical in terms of a women’s career

development (Ragins & Cotton, 1991).

It is reported in the literature that women who develop mentoring relationships

are likely to benefit from them and show better performance, in contrast to

people who have not cultivated such relationships. McIlhone (1984) studied 199

women officials at AT&T and found that women with mentors were promoted

more quickly than those who did not have mentors. Indeed, a positive correlation

between career success and mentoring has been reported in medical, law, and

educational fields (Ragins, 1989).

Meanwhile, it is unclear as to the extent in which mentoring for women in

general can be effective. A very recent Korean research concerning CMW shows

that the most effective element of CMW lies in its ability to help women form

confidence, offer role models, and boost an understanding of the importance of

having networks among women (Lee, 2003).


3. Case Study: Cyber-Mentoring for Women by the

Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE), Republic of

Korea

3.1 Title: Women-net Cyber-Mentoring

MOGE was initiated in 2001, standing for “Digital MOGE.” As a means of

accomplishing “Digital MOGE,” the Women-net website was established in 2002.

Women-net is a public portal website for women; cyber-mentoring is included

as one component of the Women-net site.

3.2 Objectives

• Inspiring women’s job consciousness

• Offering women role models in various professional fields

• Sharing knowledge and experiences between mentors and mentees

• Enlarging communication possibilities between mentors and mentees

• Building social networks among mentors and mentees

• Providing opportunities to express ideas and obtain feedback

Providing counseling for mentees’ psychological, social and emotional problems

from mentors

3.3 Process

Figure 1: Mentoring process

CMW’s whole process is commissioned to an external agency every year.


3.3.1 Recruiting, selecting, and matching

• Professional women are the main targets for serving as mentors. They are

recruited by volunteering, recommendation, or invitation, both on-line or offline

Expected benefits for mentors: Having opportunities to be introduced in

the media and broadcasting, receiving entrusted certificates, improving

networking in various fields, enhancing self-confidence, and having support

groups

• Mentees are recruited by recommendation or on-line requests (application

form or letter). Young women, such as university students, salaried women, or

housewives, are selected for participation.

Expected benefits to mentees: Obtaining information, having role models,

understanding professionals, building networking, getting support, and

developing enhanced self-confidence

• Matching mentor and mentee: Classifying mentees based on personal

information (job, area of interest, hobbies, living area, etc.) and personal needs,

matching with mentees after analyzing mentors’ profiles, grouping mentors

and mentees by 10-20 couples, and referring to different mentor and mentee

lounges. (In 2002, 105 couples were matched -> In 2003, 202 couples were

matched -> In 2004, 413 couples were matched.)

Mentoring fields: business, finance, trade, education, law, culture, creation,

advertisement & broadcasting, cooking and food, beauty, marketing, IT,

construction, politics, administration, entrepreneurs, etc., in 70 professional

fields


Examples of Mentoring Groups

Example 1 : Techno-science group

Mentor: university students and post-graduates in mathematics/ science/

computer science

Mentee: middle/ high school girls

Contents: Professional guide and counseling on math/ science/ computers,

developing girls’ interest in these areas, obtaining information and knowledge

of university life, offline meeting on a regular/ irregular basis

Example 2: University women students – salaried women group

Mentor: professional salaried women

Mentee: women university students preparing to obtain jobs

Contents: Offering information in seeking jobs, guidelines and counseling,

forming girls’ networking, sharing public information in mentee lounges,

introducing new jobs

Example 3: Young women workers and management-level women workers

Mentor: experienced women in various fields

Mentee: young women in early career stages

Contents: Practical strategies and methodologies in order to survive in malecentered

workplace cultures, sharing mentors’ experience, providing social

support to young women

There is a separate women’s mentoring programme in this field. E-Women in

Science and Engineering (WISE) was launched in 2001 with the support of the

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and by the Korea Science and

Engineering Foundation (KOSEF). This programme has recruited mentors from

universities, research centers, organizations, enterprises and so on (over 150

institutions). Local centers have been established in universities within the country.

Online communication is the main activity, but various offline activities have also

been implemented.


3.3.2 Orientation

• Title: Making Sisterhood Relationships (orientation programme)

• Purpose: Orientation on cyber-mentoring

− Strengthening relationships between mentors and mentees




Consolidating the willingness to participate and take

responsibility

Advertising cyber-mentoring

• Contents: Presenting entrusted certificates

− Introducing mentor/ mentee couples


Watching mentoring film

Orientation for mentors: Understanding mentees (diversity and differences,

mentees’ daily lives), the concept and objectives of mentoring, the mentor’s

role, etiquette on the Internet, and tips for gender-sensitive advice

Orientation for mentees: The concept and objectives of mentoring,

understanding mentors (diversity and differences, understanding mentors’

daily lives), the mentee’s role, etiquette on the Internet, effective questioning

3.3.3 Mentoring progress

• Duration: 1 year (Practical activity is done from May to November, for

approximately 7 months)

• Operation:

− Matched mentor and mentee: 1:1 mentoring through closed board


• Bulletin

Unmatched (standby) mentor and mentee: open mentoring

• The average of bulletin posts by each couple: 2002: 1.3 times per week, 4.7

times per month. 2003: Once a day (17%), 2-3 times per week (17%), once per

week (44%). Main contents:

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Conversation about daily life

Guidance about career objectives

Counseling personal difficulties

Psychological support and encouragement

Giving career-related information

Figure 2: Structure map of cyber-mentoring website

Home

Notices

About this page

Mentoring

guide

FAQ

Q&A

Regular mentor/mentee

members

Open mentoring

Application for mentor/

mentee

Cyber-mentoring club

Mentoring place

Mentor/mentee

lounge

Mentor

introduction

Mentee

introduction





Best mentoring

Mentoring

knowledge bank

Free board

Mentoring news

3.3.4 Monitoring

• Full-time staff placement

• Roles and tasks:

− Quantitative and qualitative monitoring on each couple

− Management of mentor groups

− Curriculum design for mentoring

− Producing news sheet and information

− Organizing events

− Producing “Sister Diary,” awarding the best mentoring

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3.3.5 Event

• Regular mentors and mentees, as well as those who are on a waiting list, are

welcomed to participate in all mentoring-related events.

• Online events

• Offline events (orientation programme, event for business entrepreneurs, or

closing ceremony)

3.3.6 Mid-term evaluation

• Commissioned company submits mid-term evaluation report of mentoring

management to MOGE

• Monitoring functions as a way of formative evaluation

• Evaluation indicators: participation rates, frequency of on-line communications

of couples, analysis of best mentoring couples, contents of the board, problems

in operation, and prospects for future

• MOGE analyzed the mid-term report, getting consulting from a professional

consulting company specified in mentoring

• MOGE and the commissioned company discuss the problems addressed and

how to improve the programme

• The result of mid-term evaluation is reflected for the enhancement of the

programme

3.3.7 Closing and evaluation

• Publishing the CMW final report (“Sister Diary”): Introducing best practices, the

best mentor/ mentee and mentoring experiences

• Best mentoring



Awarding: Best mentors/mentees and the community (2002, 20 people;

2003, 23 people)

Analysis of the best mentoring couple (upper 40%, 2002)

-

(+) Factors: Mentors in their 20s, mentees in their 20s, university student

mentees, the broadcasting/ press field

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-

(-) Factors: Mentors in their 40s, mentees in their teens (high-school

students), mentees in their 30s, the business administration field

• Characteristics of successful mentoring





Voluntary participation, active attitude, sincerity, rapport, often posting

notices, trust, same expectations, good matching, similarity of couple

(personality, status, interests, religion, etc.), degree of understanding about

mentoring

Factors of mentor – being active, quality as a counselor (who is able to lead

conversations and guide them), interest in the mentee’s development,

not being scared of interpersonal relationships, having the ability to use

computers

Factors of a mentee – being active, being sincere, having good manners,

willingness to develop oneself, high self-motivation, being expressive

Management factors – building effective operation systems and

monitoring activity

3.4 Results

• Contributing to women’s growth and development

• Establishing new concepts about women networking

• Advertising effects in the mass-media

• Selected for an excellent case of governmental innovation

• Bench-marked by other organizations such as schools, companies, or local

governments

• Satisfaction of participants (survey results of 2003, 48 people in total)




Interaction between mentors and mentees: satisfactory (51%), neutral

(14%), unsatisfactory (35%)

Usefulness of mentoring content for practice: satisfactory (57%), neutral

(24%), unsatisfactory (19%)

Operation system: satisfactory (39%), neutral (47%), unsatisfactory (14%)

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4. Evaluation: Lessons Learned

In this section, the evaluation of cyber-mentoring has been conducted in two

ways. The first was to evaluate the external aspects of CMW by area, based on

related documents. The second was to perform a qualitative evaluation done

with reference to participant interviews, in addition to other relevant personnel.

Finally, fundamental effects, obstacles, and future prospects of this project are

described.

4.1 Documentary Analysis of the Cyber-Mentoring System

Single and Muller’s structured e-mentoring system model (2000) was used for an

objective evaluation, as shown in Figure 3. This structured e-mentoring system

provides training, guidance, monitoring, and evaluation functions for active online

mentoring. Based on this model, CMW can be analyzed in 14 different areas

(Table 1).

4.1.1 Operation structure

CMW’s whole process is commissioned to an external agency on a yearly basis.

MOGE makes a contract with a company or organization for the operation

of this programme every year. Proposals were gathered in public, and were

professionally examined. Given this yearly change in operation, it is necessary that

management know-how be recorded and handed down to the next company

every year. MOGE must coordinate this change over, and follow up on recurrent

problems and issues, such as budget shortages.



Mentoring documents published by MOGE, MOGE internal documents, cybermentoring

web page, proposal and reports by commissioned company, related

academic literature, cyber-mentoring booklet, “Sister Diary”, etc.

Interviews with MOGE officials, staff in charge of this project in the commissioned

company, and monitoring staff, were conducted through e-mail, telephone, and field

visits. Additionally, the best mentoring couples (20 people) were interviewed.

14


Figure 3: E-Mentoring System

Planning

1. Selection

2. Expectation

management

3. Matching process

Evaluation

1. Participation

2. Formative

3. Final

Structured

implementation

1. Training

2. Guidance

Table 1: E-Mentoring Component: Factors and Areas of Analysis

E-Mentoring Model Component Areas of Analysis

Factors

1. Planning Selection (1) Operation structure

(2) Selection of mentor and mentee

Expectation

management

(3) Objectives of mentoring

(4) Mentoring function

(5) Period of participation

Matching process (6) Qualifying criteria

(7) Matching method

2. Structured Training

(8) Orientation

implementation Guide

(9) Suggested guidelines and

discussion subjects

Building community (10) Encouragement

(11) Group mentoring and peer

mentoring

3. Evaluation Participation (12) Monitoring

Formative

(13) Mid-term evaluation

Final

(14) Final evaluation

Source: Suh, L. (2002) Designing “e-mentoring” systems for office professionals, pp.39. Component factors and points of

analysis were amended.

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4.1.2 Selection of mentor and mentee

It was very difficult to recruit participants, especially mentors, in the first year. The

mentor pool seemed to be developed mainly through personal networks; as a

result, the number of mentors was very limited. Consequently, there has been a

long waiting list of mentees . At present, the number of people on the waiting

list is about 2,000, of which the ratio of mentors to mentees is 1:7. New and

effective ways of advertising and events must be better prepared for recruiting

new mentors. In this regard, recent efforts to manage pre-mentors are ideal ways

of keeping networks with mentor pools intact. Furthermore, formal and informal

recognition and compensation for mentors should be designed. Supporting

mentors’ career development may also be an option to consider. Furthermore, a

database of professional women in various fields can be used.

According to the results of analyzing the best mentoring couples, the mentees’

voluntary participation is one of the most important success factors. Therefore,

voluntarily participating mentees should be considered first in matching couples.

It was found that teen mentees’ participation was the lowest, since they could

not find enough time in between their busy study and school schedules. Women

in their 30s also tended to have difficulty actively participating in CMW, in that

they were busy with child rearing, housework, or early career development at

work. Therefore, other ways of mentoring may be necessary for them. In this

regard, categorizing mentors and mentees according to their demographic

characteristics and managing CMW differently for each group could be more

effective.

4.1.3 Objectives of mentoring

The objectives of mentoring by MOGE are two-fold. The first objective is to

provide young women with female role models who are successful in their

professions, which can positively affect young women’s job awareness. The

second objective is to enhance women’s networking through mentoring

relationships. Although it seems premature to evaluate the achievement of the

CMW objectives, it is believed that this programme contributes positively to

raising women’s job awareness. However, it is not easy to find empirical evidence

yet, as the objectives of CMW, itself, are difficult to measure. For this reason, the

authors used a qualitative approach and its result will be introduced in the later

part of this report (see VI.2.).


There is also mentors’ waiting list for those who were not in the field of interests of

mentees on the waiting list. Because mentors’ and mentess’ area of interests can be

different, unmatched mentors can exist.

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4.1.4 Mentoring function

In the literature, mentoring is mostly researched at the organizational level.

The literature shows that psychosocial functions are mainly found in women’s

mentoring, including role models, confidence building, psychological

encouragement and support. Based on an analysis of the posting content and

monitoring, the main functions are confirmed to enhance the self-confidence

of mentees and to provide psychological support. The mentors, themselves,

valued the psychosocial functions more than the career functions, and the

mentees reported that they were helped by this function, as well. This result is

in accordance with previous literature reviews on the major characteristics of

women mentoring. Such a finding may be more prevalent here because CMW

targets women, in general, rather than people in specific occupations or in a

specific organization.

4.1.5 Period of participation

The mentoring programme is implemented for one year but, in fact, excluding

the recruiting time, orientation, final evaluation and giving awards, the

programme actually lasts for nearly seven months. With a limitation of faceto-face

interaction, an approximately three-month period is spent on building

rapport and trust between participants, while the remaining three-month period

is spent on practical conversation. Consequently, there is usually not enough

time to establish meaningful relationships, perhaps explaining why 60% of the

couples in 2003 remained intact in 2004 (the same mentor and mentee for 2

years). The general consensus is that it normally takes a year for adept practical

mentoring.

4.1.6 Qualifying criteria

The qualifying criteria were not clearly stated in the process of recruiting.

Professionals, private businesswomen, or even house workers could apply for

mentors. It seems to be difficult to specify qualifying standards, especially for

mentors, because the number of professionally active women in society is fewer

than that of men. Thus, it would be better to utilize an existing mentor pool

from which to recruit new mentor candidates. In the case of mentees, here are

no qualifying standards. Considering that voluntary participation is important

in successful mentoring, CMW advertising and recruitment of more volunteers

must be further emphasized.

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4.1.7 Matching method

Presently, mentor-mentee pair matching is made according to personal

information and needs by the operation staff after selecting the mentor’s and

mentee’s application forms. In this way, mentors and mentees are not allowed

to choose their own partners. Therefore, re-matching is sometimes required,

and sometimes a matching relationship cannot be made. Matching is the most

important factor in mentoring, since it is based on personal relationships. Thus,

a system allowing the mentors and mentees, themselves, to influence the

matching process could be considered. For example, under an agreement with

mentors and mentees, they could access personal information and could choose

whomever they wanted. However, some rules should be prepared in case no

one matched with anyone or there are too many mentees who want to be

matched with a mentor. In these cases, the operation staffs can be involved as a

matchmaker after notifying this to the applicants.

4.1.8 Orientation

From the beginning of the mentoring process, an orientation is provided.

“Sisterhood Relationship Matching” is a title of the orientation programme that

is a kick-off offline event. Basic orientation programmes are provided through

this event. The participation rate is approximately 50 percent of all matched

couples. On the other hand, mentoring-related information is given online. If the

participants take advantage of these online and offline activities, they can gain

great knowledge and skills from mentoring. Therefore, it is necessary to strongly

encourage all participants to attend at least the initial orientation programme.

4.1.9 Suggesting guidelines and discussion subjects

Guidelines are delivered through notice boards on web-pages and by personal

e-mails. Good discussion subjects are provided, either through online or offline

events. However, on the other hand, it is also important to respect each couple’s

selection of topics and their own private discussion preferences.

4.1.10 Encouragement

Active participation is encouraged in the process of monitoring. The monitoring

staff emails or calls the couples that are not actively interacting. However,

intervention has not shown to be the best method of keeping the interaction

intact, according to the interview results. Instead of intervention, making all

of the couples write short activity diaries on a regular basis or surveying their

activity (frequency or outcomes) every once in a while could be considered as an

alternative method. In addition, feedback about their activity compared to other

18


couples could encourage couples’ active participation indirectly. A variety of

recognition and compensation techniques could also possibly elevate couples’

active participation. Mid-term offline events that include all participants could

function as a mechanism of encouragement, as well.

4.1.11 Group and peer mentoring

In the beginning, CMW basically focused on one-to-one mentoring, rather than

on group or peer mentoring aspects. For instance, cyber lounges for the mentor

and mentee were hardly used. Therefore, whether CMW has actually contributed

to women’s networking remains in question. The participation rates in the online

and offline events were not very high. Fortunately, this year there have been

several social gathering events for mentors, as well as for mentees. Continuous

efforts to promote one-to-many or many-to-many relation structures are required

in order to enhance women’s networking.

4.1.12 Monitoring

Monitoring has been done by full-time staffs. These staffs are allowed to access

to closed board of each couple. They can check the frequency and content

of interactions of each couple and, if needed, they encourage more active

interactions and provide helpful tips for mentoring relationship on an individual

basis through emails or phones. Through this process, the important qualitative

data was collected. In addition, the information gathered was helpful to identify

best mentoring couples at the end of the programme. For this reason, the

monitoring process will be continued at any rate. However, individual monitoring

of each couple would be lessened since some participants raised a question

against the necessity of monitoring on private communications. Instead,

monitoring for community activity (such as among mentors and mentees) should

be emphasized, which would be helpful in expanding women’s networking.

4.1.13 Mid-term evaluation

To get some information about how the programme goes and if there are any

problems in the middle of process. MOGE asked the commissioned company

to submit a mid-term report. Therefore, it is said that the mid-term evaluation

was replaced with a mid-term report produced by the commissioned company.

It contains participation rate, frequency of on-line communications of couples,

analysis of best mentoring couples, contents of the board, problems in operation,

and prospects for future. Here, the monitoring functions as a means of formative

evaluation as well, thus giving feedback for improving the project and the

accomplishment of its objectives.

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4.1.14 Final evaluation

Every year, the evaluation of cyber-mentoring is concluded with the publication

of a final project report, “sister diary” containing good practices and with an award

ceremony for the best mentoring. This event is good in the sense of finalizing

the year and celebrating all of the mentoring attempts that have been made.

However, there is a need for continuous management of the evaluation results,

with long-term perspectives.

4.2 Interview Analysis of the Effect of Cyber-Mentoring

Interviewed participants and related persons provided important data for

the qualitative evaluation. Interesting facts not discovered in the previous

documentary research were found. Unexpected, yet very meaningful,

achievement was reported.

4.2.1 Cyber-mentoring experience

Enjoying the advantages of cyber-mentoring

First, the biggest advantage of cyber-mentoring is to enable contemporary

people to have relationships beyond place and time. At this point, almost all

of the participants have had similar opinions. Specifically, most of the mentors

stated that mentoring was possible because it was cyber-mentoring.

I participate because it is cyber-mentoring; otherwise, I couldn’t. In fact, those around

my age are normally very busy…. It is impossible for married women to do another

task in addition to work. (Mentor 3)

I expected that cyber-mentoring would add fewer burdens because there aren’t many

meetings we should attend. I couldn’t imagine that cyber-mentoring has become as

popular as it is now. (Mentor 5)

Second, written communication was perceived as a meaningful experience,

which could give one a chance to think more reflectively. Written notices are

compiled on a notice board, which showed information about how a partnership

developed.

Writing is a kind of filtering, which means we can put in order one’s thinking.

(Mentor 8)

Third, the effectiveness of cyber-mentoring was doubled when accompanied by

offline activities. Considering that it takes 2 or 3 months to build enough rapport

20


etween partners, attending offline meetings should be strongly encouraged, at

least once or twice.

Even though it is cyber-mentoring, it would be good to have one or two off-line

meetings. We would feel comfortable with people after meeting face to face….

Writing after meeting would make people friendlier. (Mentee 5)

It seems to be good to make offline meetings compulsory… (Mentor 6)

I do not think online mentoring would be successful unless it is accompanied with

off-line meetings (Mentor 4)

Establishing rapport is a time-consuming process

Basically, cyber-mentoring is accomplished between unacquainted partners.

Thus, it takes some time for them to feel comfortable with each other in order

to start sincere conversations. Even though the actual period of mentoring lasts

approximately 6 to 7 months, participants spend an estimated three months

building rapport. Offline meetings and events could shorten this period of time

considerably.

System matters

In the beginning of this project, there were many technical problems that were

inconvenient for the participants. The stability of the system is one of the most

important factors for this programme’s success. Thanks to continuous efforts

made to improve the system, participants’ complaints have greatly diminished.

We know how many system errors there were. It is really a hard job to write, in spite of

a lot of errors. (Operation staff 2)

Sometimes my writing was refused from being posted on the notice board. I tried

several times. (Mentee 6)

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4.2.2 Characteristics of women’s cyber-mentoring

Active personal conversation

Until rapport is established, or even after that, most of the conversation is about

personal matters, rather than detailed career information. This result may be

related to the fact that rapport establishment takes much time to develop online.

Talking about specific subjects comes after being friendly. Of course, satisfaction tends

to be lower when the connection between them is not so good. (Monitoring staff )

Once identified, if there is a common interest, more conversation can be possible. If

only knowledge is exchanged without any relations, it is like private tutoring. (Mentor

1)

Psychological support

Participants discuss “living as a woman,” which is considered to be the most

significant issue for young women who are just entering the workforce. Generally,

researchers maintain that women mentors play a more critical role in encouraging

psychosocial matters and personal interests than do men (Fitt & Newton, 1981;

Schwiebert, 1999). On the same line, caring and providing psychological support

are the major functions prevalent in CMW. In fact, according to the research, men’s

mentoring tends to be more job-centered, while women’s mentoring tends to be

more relationship-centered. For women mentees, mentoring seems comparable

to counseling or a social support mechanism for personal development, i.e.

psychosocial functions of mentoring (Chung, 2001).

Women have fewer opportunities to get personal and psychological support from

society, so after getting any support, I think we could be interested in success, and so

on…. (Mentor 6)

Many women want to have a psychological sense of stability, support, encouragement,

and so on. Successful mentoring includes satisfaction of those psychological aspects.

(Operating staff )

I think that psychological things are the most important for women. (Mentee 3)

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4.2.3 Effects of the cyber-mentoring project

Building self-confidence

Generally, women tend to consider themselves incompetent, even if they have

superior abilities (Valian, 1998). In the process of mentoring, mentee participants

realize the importance of regaining self-confidence for their career development.

The monitoring staff’s observations showed that the major change for most

mentees was in gaining self-confidence. This change cannot be made by onetime

guidance or counseling, but rather a long-term relationship between the

mentee and mentor.

I felt I could do it. The mentor was a person whom I wanted to be. Her mentoring was

very helpful in gaining self-confidence. (Mentee 7)

Self-reflection and active exploration of career

At first, many mentees wanted concrete information on careers or occupations

and wanted practical help. However, during the mentoring process they often

had different experiences.

I applied to be a mentee because I was interested in opening a business. But, I learned

more about what it would be like to start a business. I found this is more important

than detailed information of how to open a business…

They realized the importance of self-reflection, such as each one’s good or

bad characteristics, attitudes, or capacities, rather than specific job or career

information. The questions given by the mentors were related mostly to the

mentees, themselves. These mentees tended not to understand themselves well.

This lack of self-understanding may stem from from being educated in Korean

schools, which generally do not provide enough opportunities for students to

explore themselves or their future careers.

Each time the topic was different. However, she told me that I should be the subject in

my life. (Mentee 4)

If there is no mind on how to live a life, there is no career. (Mentor 10)

Improved gender sensitivity

Gender awareness was forming and growing through the experience of

mentoring between women.

23


Profoundly, I believed that working and housekeeping at the same time is hard, but I

didn’t realize how tough it was. Also, I haven’t given any serious thoughts about my

attitude on this issue. Yet, through mentoring I realized that women’s life in this society

is quite different from men, and this is not a personal matter. (Mentee 9)

At school, we do not feel much difference between men and women. However, at

work it was painful to know women are treated unfairly. I wanted to share my feelings

with someone. Through mentoring, I recognized I wasn’t the only one to feel this

hardship… I concluded that society is often like this… (Mentee 8)

Role models

Mentors and mentees agreed on that CMW helped young girls to find good role

models whom the mentees wanted to follow or resemble in the future according

the interview results. Also, it motivated them to grow as good models to their

next generations ( Levinson et al., 1978) as shown below.

I feel I would live like a mentor even after marriage and in the later years of my life.

(Mentee 10)

I had a feeling I would resemble my mentor. It was a positive stimulus. (Mentee 6)

I’d love to be the same person(metor) to my next generations in the future. I can give

something

for them (mentee 1)

Moreover, mentees tend to more respect their mentors because the government

recommended the mentors to them. They believe that it symbolizes mentors’ reliability.

This may contribute to the influence of role models to young girls.

I believe my mentor and am proud of having a such mentor as a role model since the

government(MOGE) recommended her to me (mentee 1).

Strengthening women’s ties

In brief, the CMW project intended to give women the opportunity to strengthen

relationships among themselves. Most of the mentors experienced a lack of

networking in their own early career stages, so they showed a high level of

responsibility in providing actual tips for younger women, making a lasting

impression on the mentees. In the case of the mentees, it seemed that they were

looking for persons with whom they could make sincere relationships. In the

process of mentoring, the mentors and mentees sympathized with each other

24


ut, regrettably, further networking was not developed.

Mostly mentoring finished on a one-to-one relationship. Actually, I expected more

than that. At least we need a sense of community. Just a one-to-one relationship has

its limitations. (Mentor 6)

This result is related to the operation system examined earlier. That is, one-toone

mentoring was highly emphasized initially. Thus, there is a need to set up a

system covering all aspects of relationships among in-mentors and in-mentees.

4.2.4 Conditions for further success

Leading voluntary participation and continuous management

Voluntary participation is closely related to mentoring success. There is also a

need to develop a system for follow-up.

I think voluntary participation is the most important. (Monitoring staff )

We should have made mentors meet in a friendlier atmosphere more often. (Operating

staff )

It seems that there is a need to manage mentors and mentees. Managing them after

the project is also necessary. (Mentor 5)

Improving the matching process

Sometimes one-sided matching causes complaints. A change is required in order

to diversify and refine mentor-mentee matching.

For a mentee, it is felt too one-sided. I hope to be several steps apart to choose a

mentor or mentee. (Mentee 7)

Orientation and strengthening education

Participants feel a great need for education and training programmes regarding

mentoring, as well as for career development. For example, mentors felt sorry

about that they were not provided enough education for mentoring. In addition

to content of mentoring, mentors and mentees cared for more help for their own

career development through career-related seminars, workshops, or training,

which are not considered in CMW.

25


Mentors also need upgrading. It would be very helpful for operation teams to provide

education programmes… seminars or presentations of the best practices…. (Mentor

6)

Adequate leveled monitoring

Even though the participants were informed about the monitoring process,

some of them felt uncomfortable being monitored, while others agreed that

it was necessary. Therefore, concrete explanations must be provided about the

purpose and process of monitoring at the early stages of the programme.

It was very uncomfortable being monitored. I wish there could be another method, if

necessary. (Mentee 4)

I don’t mind. It is a government project, and of course, it should be done. So next time,

the results will be helpful. (Mentee 1)

4.4.5 Governmental women’s mentoring programme: Limitations and

prospects

Specialized by targets and areas

This project has limitations in terms of career development and network

improvement because the range of participants was too broad, and the

discussion subjects were too general. As a governmental project, it may be

difficult to change the framework; however, for practical purposes, specialization

is necessary. In the long run, diversified systems for different target groups and

fields need to be set up.

Topics are too broad, and participants are too general, too… It was difficult to

manage. (Operating staff )

I thought it would be more interesting if operated in a similar group. I feel networking

will be more active if mentoring takes place for those who have similar interests.

(Mentor 3)

Function as a model project and the possibility of dissemination

The CMW is currently an object of benchmarking in various fields and at various

levels. The government should make a concerted effort to disseminate the

programme into specialized areas in order to consider different contexts and to

provide know-how about the operation to the public.

26


MOGE’s job is to develop a model. I do not think MOGE can deal with all kinds of

mentoring for every woman. The government’s job is to develop a good model and

disseminate know-how. (Operating staff )

Mentoring is closely related to fields or organizations like school, work, and so forth.

Therefore, it is necessary to develop field-specified mentoring for its own needs.

(Mentor 4)

5. Implications for Girls’ Education in Other Asian

Countries

The authors did not intend to export CMW to other countries through this report.

In reality, it is not adequate to discuss cross-cultural applications because cybermentoring

is closely related to the IT development of an individual country.

Rather, the purposes are to share lessons acquired from Korean experiences as

well as suggestions for gender equality in education.

5.1 Strategic provision of women’s role models

Considering that women are given few privileges at work, it is important

to give role models to young girls. Such role modeling can be done through

diverse ways, such as campaigns, textbooks, the mass media, or government,

community, or NGO advertisements. By contacting such role models, women

can gain confidence in themselves, and can dream about a better future.

5.2 Application of mentoring programme to young girls’ group

It is inevitable to focus on psychological support functions if women, in general,

are included. Of course, psychological support functions are effective in women’s

lives. However, for visible change, specialized mentoring programmes are crucial

for young girls. These programmes can be accomplished at the community or

school level.

5.3 Career counseling and strengthening vocational education for

girls

Women do not have many opportunities to get advice about their own future.

Therefore, they do not have enough experiences in exploring their own

disadvantages, advantages, characteristics, or needs. Generally, mentees who

participated in mentoring programmes did not reflect clear life objectives

27


in CMW. Rather, they were lacking in confidence. Under these circumstances,

general career counseling or vocational education is not helpful. It is necessary

to have specialized career guidance and vocational education for women. With

such specialized guidance and training, vocational counseling could be reexamined

from a gender-sensitive perspective.

5.4 Emphasizing women’s networking

The career literature has reported that networking is a critical factor for women’s

successful career development. The Government should promote ties among

women by encouraging and supporting professional women’s group activities.

5.5 Importance of adult education for women

The most effective role models for girls are their own mothers. Thus, it is important

to provide education to mothers. Since mothers are not in school in most cases,

mothers should be taught about the social changes in the world, women’s lives,

and how to be good role models for their daughters, using the adult education

system, such as community centers, PTAs, religious organizations, or workplace

training. They should be able to access adult education programmes on these

issues whenever they want and wherever they are.

5.6 Application of mentoring to various contexts

Women’s mentoring is an effective way of building confidence, giving the

opportunity for self-reflection, and providing psychological support. In addition

to the governmental initiatives presented in this report, private institutions such

as companies or religious groups could use women’s mentoring as a way of

improving women’s lives.

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Documents (In Korean)

Cyber-mentoring Report (Sabiz, Inc., 2003)

Cyber-mentoring Workshop (Lee & Suh, 2003)

Final Report of the Best Mentoring Award 1212 (Sabiz, 2004)

Final Report of the Meeting for Women Entrepreneurs (Sabiz, 2003)

Introduction of Cyber-mentoring (MOGE, 2002)

Mid-term Report of Cyber-mentoring (Bizwoman, Inc., 2002)

Plan for the Sisterhood Matching Event (Sabiz, 2004)

Proposal for the Cyber-mentoring Programme (Another culture, 2003)

Proposal for the Telementoring Programme (Bizwoman, Inc., 2002)

Sister Diary (2002, 2003)

Summary of Women-net (MOGE, 2002)

Websites:

www.wise.or.kr

www.women-net.net

30


Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education

United Nations Educational,

Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNESCO Bangkok

920 Sukhumvit Road, Prakanong, Bangkok, Thailand 10110

E-mail: bangkok@unescobkk.org

Website: www.unescobkk.org

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