Fight for gender equality in comms all year round, not just on International Women’s Day
Communications is often thought of as a female profession which is true to some extent. Research shows that while two thirds of the international communications industry as a whole is female, only 22% of CEOs in the top PR agencies around the world are women.
In reality, what we see is that whilst the executive boards are overwhelmingly made up of men, the lower and middle rungs of the comms industry are filled by women. Which raises the question, why don’t women progress to the top?
According to the International Labour Organisation, requirements like “unfailing availability and total geographic mobility” are often cited in C-Suite level jobs postings. These requirements may go some way in explaining why the top jobs in PR are mostly dominated by men. Jobs stipulating this kind of availability can seem untenable for working mothers.
But with the rise of technology making more flexible working arrangements more common, recent data released by the Holmes Report indicates that women have made encouraging progress in taking on C-Suite roles in PR agencies. We’ve also seen an expansion of the number of cross-agency working groups, committees and pressure groups, like Women in PR, who are fighting structural discrimination on the front line. By providing mentoring, content, events and training for future female talent in our sector, the goal of the ‘Women in PR group’ is to increase the number and diversity of women in leadership roles in the communications industry.
But while some progress is being made we still have a way to go. The nurturing of female talent needs to happen all year round – not just on one day a year. A study by McKinsey showed that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially so there isn’t just a moral imperative for making workplaces fairer, there’s an financial one too.