I used to work in the fashion PR agency with more than 20 women and only one man. In my PR group at the university there are 23 girls and 2 guys. And yet, although 63% of PR people are women (PRCA Census 2013), I read that two-thirds of PRWeek readers agree that PR industry is sexist. It’s 2015, isn’t it the high time for a change?!
In her blog post for PRCA, Rosanna M. Fiske points out that dominance of women in PR is an ongoing trend which started in the 1980s, when more women than men began graduating from college. It has been more than 30 years now when women play an important part in PR as a whole, but according to the report by CIPR “male PR professionals are paid, on average, £8,483 more than female PRs purely because of their gender”. Sarah Hall FCIPR, CIPR board member and the institute’s Equal Pay lead, said to the PRWeek: “The current assumption that gender pay gaps exist predominantly as result of women starting families, taking extended maternity leave, leaving full-time work and being more likely to work part-time, can now be declared dead.” What is more, there are relatively few women in senior leadership roles showing the constant presence of the ‘glass ceiling effect’. The post by Liz Yeomans addresses some interesting issues about the liberal feminist and post-feminist viewpoint on the gender equality and glass ceiling in PR.
The good thing is that we talk about it. But to change the situation, the practical actions must be taken. At Edelman, Global Women’s Executive Network (GWEN) was created to ensure women make up 50 percent of the firm’s leadership in five years (from 2014). But apart from the organized projects, women should lead their way themselves by e.g. planning their carriers and improving their negotiation skills.
The International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March) is coming soon and for this occasion I wish that all women will be rewarded for their work fairly, that the ‘glass ceiling effect’ will soon be just a bad memory of the past practice and that gender inequality will not be a case in PR (and any other industry) anymore.