Public relations is a top industry that requires professionalism, experience, and success. For a PR professional, there is a huge number of daily struggles that he or she has to overcome and find some other innovative ways to handle them. There is no exact job description for public relations because there are various tasks for a PR professional. For example, on different days, he or she may need to manage events, write and put together marketing communications, or try to pitch to clients. In order to be successful in PR, it is necessary to come up with innovative ideas, create relevant plans, and, most important, stay consistent. Interestingly, “PR is an industry that is inclusive of women at every level—except for the very top” (Risi, 2016, para. 1). Articles state that women are attracted to public relations but need to work hard, fight to be heard, be in contact with the right people, and have a good reputation as there is a major inequality.
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The tricky part of this industry is following the most current and important news and use only reliable sources. It is crucial to keep ideas fresh and new and make the clients interested in the process and happy with the result. Public relations attract a significant number of women since it is necessary for specialists to work well in teams and empathize with and listen to their clients. Despite the fact that these skills are rather natural for many women, very few of them make it to the top of the industry. According to Carufel (2017), “although women represent two-thirds of the global PR industry, 78 percent of the CEOs in the top 30 PR agencies worldwide are men” (para. 2). Moreover, men “occupy 62 percent of seats at the PR boardroom table” (Carufel, 2017, para. 2). These numbers demonstrate the strange and offensive disproportionality in how many women are PR professionals and how many are allowed to become CEO.
Another severe problem that proves that women are facing more difficulties in public relations is the confidence gap. It is hard to believe, but “twice as many women (26 percent) say they are ‘not confident’ asking for a promotion or pay rise, compared to 13 percent of men” (Carufel, 2017, para. 11). In addition, much fewer women think that they will certainly reach the top of the career ladder, which is a strong proof that they are not treated well by their bosses. What is more, those women who succeeded in becoming CEOs in PR do not believe that “people would respond to them as a leader the same way they would respond to a man” (Krugler, 2017, p. 29). If people are hardworking, experienced, and successful, they have to get promoted or have their salaries increased no matter if they are men or women. Job, professionalism, and, in particular, PR are not and must not be about gender.
As for salaries in public relations, there is another huge gap between women and men. According to Carufel (2017), “the average salary for men in PR is $61,284 compared to women $55,212, revealing a gender pay gap of $6,072” (para. 4). These numbers let one assume that women are paid less for the same or even more professionally performed work than men. There is no doubt that this inequality is unwelcoming for women and has to be eliminated.
There are several ways of achieving justice and making the public relations industry more equal and respectful for women. First, it is necessary to add more women to boardrooms since a greater number of female board-directors results in a lower likelihood of insolvency and financial restatement, better stock growth, and a higher return on sales. Women trust women, and it is crucial for them to know that they are able to use their right to become leaders. The second step is to increase work flexibility and regulate work and life balance. It is essential because this balance may be especially difficult for women since they are usually responsible for childcare and eldercare. PR companies have to take the perspective of these women and offer them employee benefits like paid maternity leave, telecommuting, and flexible work schedules. What is more, women who get families note that it becomes impossible for them to develop their careers (Krugler, 2017). Hence, PR leaders have to let these women reach the top of the career ladder if they are really experienced and professional.
To draw a conclusion, one may say that public relations is one of those industries that still cannot provide equality for women. It has huge wage and other gaps and orientates not on one’s professionalism and skills but gender. Unfortunately, men have more opportunities to have a promotion, get their salary increased, and reach the top of the career ladder. Women, especially those who get pregnant or already have children, struggle with stereotypes and sexism. Thereby, it is possible for women to achieve success in PR, but discrimination and inequality have to be eliminated so that this sphere can stop paying attention to gender and let women get what they really deserve.
Carufel, R. (2017). Women in PR facing tough battle for fair pay, advancement. Agility PR Solutions. Web.
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Krugler, E. (2017). Women in public relations: The influence of gender on women leaders in public relations. Graduate Theses and Dissertations, 1-66.
Risi, J. (2016). Public relations agencies are dominated by women. So why are all their leaders men? Quartz. Web.