10/10/2011 04:27 pm ET | Updated Dec 10, 2011

Do Women Prefer Male Over Female Mentors?

“If a woman wants advice from someone who has been there, done that, then it pretty much has to be a man,” said Deborah Ellinger, president of Restoration Hardware.

According to a recent survey from USA Today of female CEOs, chairs and company founders, when asked to identify the one mentor who had the most influence on their careers, 33 of the 34 who responded identified a man. Why? Well first of all it is because of basic math. There are only 29 Fortune 1,000 companies with a female CEO and not enough other women in very high-ranking positions to do be mentors. There are more male mentor options if you are looking for someone at the top of their field especially in business. But do women actually prefer the guiding principles of men over women? Do they think they will do better in their careers by listening to men even though men are missing one very important thing that would make a female mentor more relatable? Can men truly be better mentors to women even though they have never experienced being part of the minority in their career?

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