by Dr. Jem Tosh
Mentoring website is now live - go to www.swap-cpa.ca
A few months ago I joined the Canadian Psychological Association's Section on Women and Psychology (SWAP) Subcommittee on Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion. After some internal discussion about wanting to increase the diversity of the Section, SWAP circulated a call for those who wanted to get involved in this initiative. Following on from how much I enjoyed working with the Psychology of Women and Equalities Section of the British Psychological Society, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do some similar work in Canada.
We've met regularly to discuss possible projects and the first one we are developing (based on ongoing discussion within the subcommittee and feedback from members) is around mentoring. We talked about how there can be many barriers to psychology and academia, particularly for marginalised groups, and how having support from others who are already working in those environments could provide valuable advice and guidance. The aim being that perhaps feminist mentoring could encourage more folks (particularly those typically excluded from the profession) to find a space and to thrive in feminist psychology.
So we are planning our first project to be a new (predominantly) online platform where folks can read profiles of SWAP members who are available as a mentor. They can also create their own profile as a mentee to let others know what they are looking for, what they are interested in, and so on. There will be forums to talk to other members and you will be able to contact those you would like to get to know or ask to be a mentor.
...perhaps feminist mentoring could encourage more folks (particularly those typically excluded from the profession) to find a space and to thrive in feminist psychology...
The other key part of the project is the 'Pods' - or groups. As some one-to-one mentorship programs can struggle due to difficulties with time commitments (and high workloads) or the mentor has some but not all of the expertise you need, having a supportive group of people can be a useful alternative. This is because you can draw on the support from the whole group and share your own experience and knowledge too. In the online groups you will be able to share information like you would on other social online spaces (like Facebook) and organise your own meetings or meet-ups either in person or virtually (depending on group members' location and availability).
We are creating a few Pods to start with based on SWAP member feedback (these could include groups like BIPOC SWAP members, French speaking SWAP members, those wanting to start a feminist PhD, getting feminist research published, 2SLGBTQAI+ SWAP Members, how to get a promotion, and so on). If you would like more information, would like to be invited to the mentoring launch event, or have suggestions for possible Pods - go to this link (English) or this one (French) and enter your email address.
Not a member of SWAP yet? If you're already a member of the Canadian Psychological Association, you can join here. (If you're not based in Canada, you can join as an International Affiliate).
Already a member and want to let your students, colleagues, or department know about the project? Here's a poster for you to print and display in your department/office or share via email:
Not a psychologist (and not training to be one either) but looking for some feminist psychology community? You can join psygentra's free monthly virtual Reading Group.