Paving the Way for Future Women

In Public Relations, I believe women have a particular advantage over men. Lately, gender equality has become an even bigger issue than it has been and I think Public Relations could add to that. I really enjoyed the article by PR in your Pajamas about how women can thrive in the PR industry. I found it interesting when they said that between 60-85 percent of PR workers are women. This is surprising to me because you don’t hear that very often at all. So, instantly I was interested to read more and find out what makes PR so different from other careers or fields.

Another post by Olga Khazan from The Atlantic that has a graph that explains that in literally every category of PR, women dominate. Between ad managers, PR managers, PR specialists, total PR & ad, reporters, editors, and total “journalists”, the percentage of women in that category well over exceed the percentage of men. Although according to the Atlantic, most of the executives are still predominately male. Which you might think wouldn’t make sense at all since the women dominate all of the categories of positions in Public Relations. Weird, huh? Being a woman myself, I hope that changes in the next few years (hopefully not decades). The Atlantic explains the problem with the wages, also. Usually women in PR get paid around $55,705 a year, compared to the $71,449 that the men make on average. I know what you must be thinking, that is a HUGE gap. It is much bigger than it should be.

bar graph

In another article of PR in your pajamas, Elena talks about the bad stereotypes of women in PR. She said that a lot of times when you tell someone that you’re in PR, they immediately start talking down to you or some even try to flirt with you, thinking that you’ll be easy. Not just women but men in PR also have the incorrect reputation of being spin-doctors. They are made out to be liars and figuring out the best way someone can fool the audience. Which is not the case but women in PR not only have to overcome the negative reputation of all PR practitioners but they get the flack 100x more than the men do. Elena states that even though women dominate in all percentages of PR positions, the one that males have is education. If you look up books about PR, the majority of them have male authors. So what does that tell you? Maybe those women are still not taken as seriously as they should be. One more stereotype is what Elena calls being a “PR Bunny” which means you’re all fluff and no substance. She says that a lot of people view women in PR to have no real skills, just the ability to do a simple job that seems glamorous.

You would think that this would deter women from even wanting to pursue the career. But it doesn’t. I believe this is part of what makes women so good at what they do. Women are resilient.

In the article, why women dominate in pr they quote: “Studies have shown that women tend to collaborate more and prefer to work on teams, whereas men usually do better in competitive environments and prefer to fly solo. That male approach works well for journalists, while having a bit of a ‘people-pleaser’ gene probably attracts and/or makes it easier for women to excel in the PR environment,” Jennifer Hellickson, director of marketing at SweatGuru in Portland, Oregon, told The Atlantic.

So women are team players, they can pull together (multi-task) more than men. PR is so much of learning to work with others whether it’s people on your team or reporters that you have to work for. You have to be able to deal with others and mostly men want to go out on their own. The fact that women have to fight every day to overcome stereotypes and know that even though they work just as hard as men they still won’t get paid as much should tell you why they dominate. They may not of taken over the entire PR field but they are on their way to dominating the whole field. Many of these women are becoming role models from the women that want to join and for that, I owe them true admiration and gratefulness for paving the way and fighting to be the best.