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Abstract

There is an upsurge in the establishment of private and public universities in Nigeria. The development has opened up the need for quality and seasoned academics, but minimal opportunities exist for mentoring of young academics. This article explores the mentoring opportunities and challenges of young female academics faced in a male dominant university system. From an exploratory qualitative design, this article generates empirical evidence through structured a face-to-face interview with purposively selected 36 female academics. The participants were recruited from the Obafemi Awolowo University, a first-generation, public-owned university in Nigeria. A thematic analysis of the data revealed common challenges in mentoring female academics as inadequate and non-availability of older female role models for upcoming female academics. Other factors include fear of being stigmatized by other colleagues when a female has a male as an academic model, unfriendly gender policies, and work environment that will not cater for women’s needs (especially those in their reproductive age). Based on these findings, the article calls for more formal mentoring relationship for younger women academics. Such step will create a sense of purpose and provide requisite information that will enhance their career progression.

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