Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
Gender in Education Network in Asia (GENIA)
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
Dr. Namhee Kim
Korean Women’s Development Institute
Dr. Jin-Ah Lee
Sejong Leadership Development Institute
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.
1. Mentoring. 2. Women – networking. 3. Cybernetics. 4. Girls education. 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.
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
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.
1.1 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
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
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.
• 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
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
• 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
Examples of Mentoring Groups
Example 1 : Techno-science group
Mentor: university students and post-graduates in mathematics/ 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
• Title: Making Sisterhood Relationships (orientation programme)
• Purpose: Orientation on cyber-mentoring
− Strengthening relationships between mentors and mentees
Consolidating the willingness to participate and take
• 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)
− Matched mentor and mentee: 1:1 mentoring through closed board
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:
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
About this page
Application for mentor/
• 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
• 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
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
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
(-) 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
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
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
• 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
• 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%)
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
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
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.
Figure 3: E-Mentoring System
3. Matching process
Table 1: E-Mentoring Component: Factors and Areas of Analysis
E-Mentoring Model Component Areas of Analysis
1. Planning Selection (1) Operation structure
(2) Selection of mentor and mentee
(3) Objectives of mentoring
(4) Mentoring function
(5) Period of participation
Matching process (6) Qualifying criteria
(7) Matching method
2. Structured Training
(9) Suggested guidelines and
Building community (10) Encouragement
(11) Group mentoring and peer
3. Evaluation Participation (12) Monitoring
(13) Mid-term evaluation
(14) Final evaluation
Source: Suh, L. (2002) Designing “e-mentoring” systems for office professionals, pp.39. Component factors and points of
analysis were amended.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Writing is a kind of filtering, which means we can put in order one’s thinking.
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
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
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)
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
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)
4.2.3 Effects of the cyber-mentoring project
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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
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.
Mentors also need upgrading. It would be very helpful for operation teams to provide
education programmes… seminars or presentations of the best practices…. (Mentor
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
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.
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.
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.
5. Implications for Girls’ Education in Other Asian
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
5.3 Career counseling and strengthening vocational education for
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
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)
Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
920 Sukhumvit Road, Prakanong, Bangkok, Thailand 10110