It is fact, just look at our class, that women outnumber men in PR two to three. Not only are we outnumbering the men, we are excelling in the field. PR is counter to the dainty, girlish stereotype as are some fields dominated by women. Heather West and Sara Evens, just to name a few, are making their mark on PR with innovative thoughts and promoting business-to-business communication — proving that women have good ideas, too. Women are definitely forging paths towards equality but there is still much inequality.
Richard Edelman brings up a great point, “Why are there so many women in PR … and yet so few women at the top?” This observations came after The Atlantic published an article inquiring why there are so many women in PR. According to Edelman’s blog post, “Despite industry estimates that women make up two-thirds of the industry’s workforce, a 2011 PRWeek story states: “Women still make up less than half of the executive committee roles at most large PR firms and only four women lead agencies with more than $100 million in global revenue.”
Edelman Worldwide is run by a man, it is worth noting. Edelman has said they are working on a five-year plan to add more women to their leadership team. Allison + Partners was founded by men and only three of nine leadership roles are held by women. Can you spot the trend?
So why, in a field saturated with women, are there less at the top? It would seem that the odds of a woman being promoted are greater than a man due to more women in the field. So why this disconnect?
I would have to agree with Edelman on this one, while the grunt work can be done by women, the old rule of leadership still holds true in PR. The typical traits of leadership are still considered to be firmly held by men. A leader should be strong, sometimes harsh, emotionless, dedicated to the office and the list goes on and on in favor of men.
However, Development Dimensions International, Inc. published a study stating “Companies that perform best financially have the greatest numbers of women in leadership roles.”
Hey, Corporate America, got the message yet?