Carefully Crafted on October 24

Fighting Sexism in PR: A Need for PRSA Leadership

As a field, Public relations is approximately 70% female. You’d think such a female-dominated industry would be beyond the sexism so rampant in other industries; however, we witnessed first-hand this morning that that’s just not reality.

Theresa Payton, former White House CIO, speaking at #PRSAicon (maybe don’t wear a shirt that keeps us distracted wondering what’s visible) pic.twitter.com/n7Gworh8xw

To which I responded with:

This sparked a dialogue, as well as a bunch of likes and retweets – all of which got me thinking about the roots of the problem. Only 30% of agency leaders are female. Something is happening that’s preventing women from proportionally rising to the top levels of the industry – and it has nothing to do with the lack of qualified women. Instead, this tweet offers a stark reminder that sexism – implicit and explicit – is alive and well in public relations.

So, PRSA – as the industry’s largest professional association – I’m calling on you to take an active role in reducing sexism, educating members about implicit and explicit bias, and providing even more opportunities to propel women into leadership positions. This means being proactive, and directly addressing these issues by providing tools to professionals through your organization.

An Opportunity to Learn and Improve

Here’s what I propose: A “Leadership for Women” track at next year’s PRSA International Conference to tackle these very issues. There are plenty of experts, case studies, research and best practices that we can share with members – women and men – to start to curtail this issue. For example, sessions can focus on:

  • Negotiating salary and benefits
  • Rewriting workplace policies to better reflect the realities of today’s workforce and family dynamics
  • The importance of workplace flexibility to encourage health and wellness within your organization
  • Starting a sponsorship/mentorship program
  • Men Who Get It – a panel discussion featuring men who actively work to encourage and support women to grow in their careers
  • Gender Norms: How you may be unknowingly reinforcing gender stereotypes … and what to do about it.
  • Using your voice to advocate for women in the workplace
  • Understanding and combatting implicit bias

… the list could go on and on.

I recognize it’s hard to add an additional programming track. If you’re open to the idea, I will personally volunteer to serve as “track captain” – curating, vetting and organizing content to ensure the segment delivers a valuable, meaningful, action-oriented experience for all attendees (men and women alike. After all, this isn’t just a “women’s issue.”) Ready to get started? Email me at heather@gebencommunication.com. I’m all in, if you are!

5 comments
julienfox
julienfox

think such a female-dominated industry would be beyond the sexism so rampant in other industries; however, we witnessed first-hand this morning that that’s just not reality.

read here>>>ebuy32.com..,,

3HatsComm
3HatsComm

Great ideas, all. And hat tip for turning something negative into a positive, into action. FWIW it inspires me to dust off an old draft (on related topic) languishing in Evernote, see if I can do the same.  

Lara K
Lara K

"Women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights, once and for all."

~Our next POTUS

maryIV
maryIV

Agreed. I think the proactive suggestion moves the discussion in the right direction.


Christine Perkett
Christine Perkett

Bravo, Heather! I love that you aren't just talking about the issue, but taking - and driving - action. I'd love to join you - let me know how I can help.

Christine

@missusP 

Trackbacks

  1. […] prtini.com – Heather Whaling 200) && (this.width >= this.height) ? 200: true); max-height: 200px; height: expression((this.height > 200) && (this.height >= this.width) ? 200: true); border: none;’/> As a field, Public relations is approximately 70% female. You’d think such a female-dominated industry would be beyond the sexism so rampant in other industries; however, we witnessed first-hand this morning that that’s just not reality. Theresa Payton, former White House CIO, speaking at #PRSAicon (maybe don’t wear a shirt that keeps us distracted wondering what’s visible) http://pic.twitter.com/n7Gworh8xw — Pete Codella, APR (@codella) October 24, 2016 To which I responded with: Disappointed to see..  show all text […]

  2. […] female agency president recently blogged about sexism after a male PR pro tweeted that he found a female event presenter’s clothing […]

  3. […] female agency president recently blogged about sexism after a male PR pro tweeted that he found a female event presenter’s clothing […]

  4. […] recognition of this was Heather Whaling (@Prtini) as she called out this tweet. She also wrote a blog about this experience, laying out a way to actually combat this from happening besides just […]

Empowered by:
Empowered by Geben Communication