Empowerment of women through an innovative e-mentoring community platform: implications and lessons learned
This article presents an overview of an e-mentoring community platform that intends to promote women’s empowerment. Women face the so-called glass ceiling effect, the barrier that keeps them from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements. We aim to eliminate the stereotypical profile of women as excluded from economic, political, and professional life and promote women’s empowerment, equality, and social coherence. To this aim, we aspire to develop Womenpower, an innovative e-mentoring community platform that intends to link women mentors and mentees in the areas of academia, business, and healthcare. Given the nature of this endeavor, there is a need to approach the development of the e-mentoring platform as a horizontal process and democratize the design, allowing for different perspectives of stakeholders to be heard and determine the design decisions. This article delineates the approach adopted for democratizing the design process and maximizing intended users’ involvement in the development process. Finally, we conclude with implications for researchers and practitioners in Community Informatics and recommendations for promoting the participation of women in the fields of academia, business, and healthcare.