25 May Taking action on gender inequality
Women make up about 70 per cent of the PR workforce, yet hold just 30 per cent of the industry’s top positions. Yes, you read that right. It comes from this story in the Holmes Report which explores the worryingly few women in senior roles in communications globally, particularly in the larger firms.
What’s causing this inequality? It’s not that women don’t do well at the helm. A 2014 study by Fortune found companies led by female CEOs generally performed better on the share market than those led by men. The research suggested this success could be attributed to effective management characteristics more common in women – leading by example and staying calm in a crisis.
Working in the communications industry, I’m constantly surrounded by smart, talented and very capable women at all levels and plenty of equally brilliant men. So the problem is not lack of leadership skills and it’s not lack of female talent in the industry, so why are women so underrepresented in PR leadership?
The answer is complicated and not something that can be explored in a 200 word blog post. Perhaps the more important question is how do we change the trend? The answer to that can be as simple as this: Each and every one of us – male and female, young and old – can commit to taking tangible steps to achieve gender equality in our organisations. Don’t sweep the issue under the carpet; pull it out, talk about it and take action because we should all take responsibility for ending gender inequality in our industry.