Gender Dominancy in the PR Profession

The PR profession has changed throughout the years. Initially the field was presumed to be filled with manipulative individuals who were appropriately called, “spin doctors.” The focus was to distract and divert the public. In modern practice, the role of PR professionals has changed to incorporate ethics. Instead of spinning the truth, the focus is placed on communicating the truth, taking responsibility and providing a satisfactory solution to the public.

This change in the practice of PR has coincided with another trend: the increased number of females in the field.

The PR industry began as male dominated, but has changed drastically into a female dominated field. In my Corporate Communications and Public Relations program at Centennial College approximately 6 out of 44 students are male. In an article on icBirmingham.com, it is reported that according to 2004…

 

“…membership figures released by the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), women now outnumber men by 60:40 – a massive swing since 1987, when figures highlighted the opposite at 20:80.”

 

The change in gender dominancy in PR is a huge issue that is discussed on a number of blogs, written about in articles and studied by universities since the 1980s.

The question we should ask is what does this mean for the future of PR?


Examining present gender structure in the field, we see that although females have come to dominate the profession, they occupy lower ranks. The executive positions are filled by males who have been working in the field since the 1980s. What this means for the future of PR is that once the male executives retire, females will most likely take over the executive positions in the next decade or so.

Albeit, I do enjoy seeing females excel and exceed in the working world, yet I can’t help but wonder what the consequences will mean to the profession itself. Men and women think differently. In the very popular book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus it is outlined that the two genders have different approaches and strategic thinking abilities. Hence, the use of both genders will allow for optimum creativity, inspiration and success.

With one gender directing the path of the future of the profession we may be loosing a great deal in the long term. I believe that we need to encourage both males and females to become active in the field.

 

How do we do it?

 

The first thing that needs to be done is to remove the arguments and put downs by both genders in the blogosphere. Energy and focus should be placed on legitimizing PR as a profession and to encourage corporations, agencies, and the government to take us seriously.

Secondly, women need to stop attacking other women. In her blog, Thanks for the advice Dr. Laura – now stuff it, Jennifer Nebesky outlines the guilt placed on women in the working force by other female professionals such as Dr. Laura (Follow the link below for details). Women should be supporting each other instead of explaining the many ways that we fail our families and ourselves by simply choosing to work.

Lastly, we need to use our training to make the PR profession a more popular, visible and legitimate job. Most of my classmates joined the program not knowing what it consisted of. More than half of the class didn’t know the profession even existed until they spoke to someone in the profession or they randomly saw it on the college’s course list.

I believe that we can move to a more equal male to female number of practitioners in the PR profession. It is only a matter of time, appropriate advertising of the profession and encouragement of both genders to join the field.

PR GirlZ

A unique perspective from women in PR
Jennifer Nebesky

Thanks for the advice Dr. Laura – now stuff it

icBirmingham

Women in Business
Thursday, October 21, 2004

Why women dominate PR profession

PR Research Trends

Manuela Gsponer
Tuesday, December 06, 2005

PR and Gender

History of public relations

Wikipedia

Precursors


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