Women in Public Relations – It isn’t just for the ladies
I am currently planning to organise PR activity for an event next month that is about ‘Women in Engineering’, with the tagline – ‘Engineering isn’t just for blokes.’ During an ideas brainstorm where I was participating in a discussion around the reasons why Engineering is a male-dominated industry, it got me thinking about Public Relations in the same light. While, globally, the majority of entry to management level positions in PR are held by women, we see men holding most of the industry’s top roles at the highest levels.
There are several reasons why PR has attracted women as a career choice over the years. For a lot of women multi-tasking and empathy comes as a natural fit, which are handy skills to work well within teams and manage multiple clients. However, there’s certainly been a shift in those gender stereotypes and also the ‘feminisation of PR’. In the UK, I’ve seen and also had the opportunity to work with young men entering the profession, especially within tech and B2B agencies.
According to Digiday, while there has been no real research into why there are more women than men in PR, the conventional notion holds that PR is appealing to women as a career choice because it requires a substantial investment in building relationships and expanding lines of communications, two areas that women have historically excelled at compared to their male peers.
(Related: We The Women – A Summit For and By Women)
Additionally, women are believed to be better and active listeners, great at social skills, pay more attention to detail and overall better communicators due to being in sync with their emotions, which makes them more suitable for a ‘communications’ role. While on a physiological and gender specific level these reasons may be true to an extent, we need to consider how PR as a profession has changed dramatically over the past decade with the rise of digital.
Just like engineering suffers from a false perception that it is for blokes, I feel the same holds true for PR. It’s just a perception, in my opinion. More awareness is needed to break the stereotypes and demonstrate how specific male skills like analysis, research and decision-making are equally important.
PR is gender neutral.
Aakriti Kaushik is a Post Graduate Media and Communications professional with a strong track record of Journalism and B2B Tech Public Relations. She currently works as PR and Advertising Manager for RS Components Northern Europe. She was nominated in-house professional of the year at the 2012 UK PRCA Awards.
With a special interest in the academic aspect of public relations, Aakriti was invited to guest lecture PR students at Leeds Metropolitan University on cross cultural and international public relations. She then launched PRBuddy as a portal to assist PR students and facilitate discussions around the current challenges faced by young professionals.
You can connect with Aakriti on Twitter @aakritik