Thursday, 26 March 2009

Where are all the women?

Yesterday PR Week announced its top ten PR gurus. Only one is a woman, Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Corporate and Legal Affairs Director for Tesco.

If we assume that the poll (of journalists and industry associations) is accurate, and knowing that twice as many women as men join the PR industry, - why is this the case?

These are some reasons I've considered:
  • If women choose to have children they have to take time out of their career for maternity leave
  • If women choose to extend their maternity leave they are disadvantaged by missing crucial years of their career
  • Women aren't as ambitious as men (I don't agree with this)
  • Women are discriminated against (my impression is this isn't the case)
  • PR is mirroring journalism - its closest industry - by having large numbers of women at the lower echelons and large numbers of men at the top. Maybe senior male journalists respond better to male PR directors?
  • Are women less good at doing their own PR than men? Selling themselves, making their successes known and putting themselves forward to manage high-profile campaigns.
  • Are women less good at networking and manipulating the politics of the workplace (and therefore don't make the leap to board-level director positions)?
  • Women are paid less than men and perhaps don't value their contribution in the same way?
  • Lack of women role models creates a self-perpetuating cycle

As a young woman and a PR practitioner, I'd be interested to hear what you think. Am I missing something? What can be done/is being done to change this situation?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kate - I think that women are equally ambitious but may be ambitious in different ways - and that success is measured in a way that doesn't necessarily reflect what women may consider success. If success for them (as it does for me) means balancing a career with family, how can that ever be recognised or managed? If you consider turnover, for example, to be the sole or main factor in determining how 'successful' a business is, as would seem the most obvious and fitting yardstick for most business gurus, then some female-led businesses aren't going to be anywhere near the top, but if staff and directors have genuinely achieved a good 'work-life' balance then that may be for, them at least, priceless.

    Just my thoughts - as someone who works with a team made up of parents.

    All best.

    ReplyDelete

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