Female Leaders Missing in C-Suites

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?

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4 Responses to Female Leaders Missing in C-Suites

  1. Aubrey Badger says:

    I read Richard Edelman’s blog post a few weeks ago as well, and while he made many good points in response to The Atlantic article, I am still baffled that the company has to employ a “five-year plan” to incorporate more women at the top. What does that mean? Over five years, the majority of men are going to be fired and replaced with women who are less qualified? I think that in the hiring or promoting process for executive positions, potential candidates’ qualifications should be laid out, without face or name, and hiring managers should pick the one best fit for the position. How many times would that person be a woman over a man? How much would the demographic switch if things were done this way? If companies that perform the best have the highest number of women in leadership roles, where are they?

  2. Riannon Maki says:

    I was shocked to learn that Edelman Worldwide had to implement a plan to put more women in leadership roles. I also do not know how they plan to do this. I appreciate that Edelman is making strides in this area but they left their plan too vague. I don’t feel that it is fair for men to be penalized for being men, just as I should not be penalized for being a woman. I think until the image of what a leader looks like changes, women can never achieve full equality. There are more women in leadership roles now than any point in history but leadership still has connotations that lend toward masculine skills.

  3. Jordan Baxter says:

    Being one of the only men in the PR Lab, I can see the significant split between men and women. It seems as though within PR that women dominate this field. I would certainly like to see more women take leadership roles and it confuses me as well as to why men are obtaining the leadership positions.

    I would think that the majority of women would run the PR field since so many are involved within this area of expertise. Edelman makes great points and has done terrific research to find the significant split between the amount of women in leadership roles in PR as well as the amount of males working in PR.

    This topic is extremely interesting to find that although men are not the dominant in the field of PR, they still are achieving management positions.

  4. Taylor Holmes says:

    It really is upsetting that women are not equally represented at the executive level in public relations and in other professions. I think the theory comes down to stereotypes that have been hard-wired in our brains for years: men should be the strongest, therefore, they fit best as leaders. Do you think that there will ever be a time when women are equally represented in the C-suite? Despite all the work that has been done, I think that it will be a long time before we see any significant change.

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