In our first semester, our lecturers did mention about one statement by some anonymous about the role of women in PR, which stated that there are more women working in PR than men, but there is none of them being on a leader board. Actually, it said: “they never run it” – simple tense! (Harsh, isn’t it?)
I always get confused with some sexist or racist statements like this. “You have to do the housework because you are a woman”, “You are not allowed to cry because you are a male soldier”, “Women work in PR but never run them” something like that. By claiming that: “Women never run PR”, it sounds the same with “You never run PR because you are women”. The term “never” should be banned when it comes to the social issue, I think.
I am currently studying PR in the UK, and by researching through some books and online articles, I was acknowledged that in the U.S, “65.7% of public relations specialists are women”, or “about 80% of all public relations students in approximately 200 universities offering communication majors are women”. A website called “the Atlantic” also did point out that last year 63% of the PR and 51% of people working in in journalism are women. Even in my class, there are only 2 males amongst 24 students.
So why saying women NEVER run the PR firms? Have women never “reached” the managerial position? Is there anything to do with the society? Or men? Or women themselves?
My defence is it is a matter of time, and with one-sided statement like this, if I ever could point out one situation/company/organization that is having a woman as their leader in communications then this statement would become rubbish. Why? Because “never” means there’s absolutely zero chance for women to run PR firms or no lady running this business at the moment at all.
So let us have a look at one of the biggest company in PR, shall we? It’s Weber Shandwick. They have one lady (Ms.Cooper) who is in charge of Public Affairs and a lady named Michelle Giuda who is running Global Corporate Communications amongst other 12 female leaders in their 24-member-board. What a perfect example, isn’t it? It’s not that women never run it, they ARE running it right now (with men of course!)
So in conclusion, I think it’s never true when someone says “who never does something because they are men/women” in our society, and I always am against it. Because we are trying to leave that stereotype/sexist thinking behind to move on to a better place when men and women are equally treated. And again, please watch Emma Watson’s speech!
P.S: I think it would be harder to defence if they used the phrase “the minority of PR firms are run by female leaders.” Well, but they said it.