S. Lievens, H. Pyck

Ghent University (BELGIUM)
In October 2009, Ghent University (Belgium) started a mentoring program for young female researchers. The mentors were male and female professors, the mentees female researchers with a Phd. They met several times to talk about topics of the mentee’s choice. The coordinators also organized workshops about networking, work/life balance and career planning. The first mentoring year ended in September 2010. The mentees were very positive about the impact of the program on their career. Some of them were just happy to have been able to talk about their uncertainties, others made real career changes. Male mentors said they had learned a lot about how women experience the difficulties of an academic career.

The main criticism was that some potential mentees and mentors had not want to participate because the program was restricted to female researchers. They stated that women do not need special help and that they would participate only if the program was open to male researchers as well.

A new mentoring year has started in March 2011. Although the program’s focus remains on gender, it is now open for both male and female researchers. In my presetation I want to elaborate on this shift and its positive and negative effects on the mentoring program.
keywords: gender, mentoring.