men on top?

There are far better things to be judged on than getting chosen to speak at an event, but it’s time women took a bigger role.

via Male dominance still appears rife, even in digital PR | Opinion | New Media Age.

In this piece, Vikki Chowney follows up on discussions last week about why the entire panel at the future of comms event (PRCA) this week is male.

I think the issue can be broken down into 3 main areas:

1 – how many senior PR personnel are women

2 – if this is imbalanced, what can the industry do to prevent women leaving the PR industry (knowing when and why would be a start…)

3 – Why aren’t women in senior positions speaking at or attending important industry events and how can this be changed?

In my opinion, the best thing we can do is make a positive change to address the balance be it as employees, employers, mentors, mentees or industry participants.  The situation will not change unless we change it.

Here are my thoughts on Vikki’s piece, as commented on the site.

Hi Vikki,

Thanks for writing this piece….easy to accept the general response that women were invited top attend panels but couldn’t attend(see my tweets re: the event that morning) but I agree, it is a cop out.

I think the issue goes a lot deeper.  I am planning on writing a response on my blog but in short(ish!), the PR industry is 70% female, it is getting harder and harder to attract men into the industry according to the PR uni course leaders yet last year, only 24 of the PR Week Powerbook were female, only 5% of PR Week top practitioners were female and not one woman is booked to attend the PRCA future of the industry panel this week.

I too was tweeting Reda and Jaz about this and am meeting the PRCA next week to discuss how to attract women to attend events.

A lot of senior women are also working Mums and responsible for childcare drop offs and pick ups,  This makes breakfast and evening events difficult to attend.  Taking myself for example, as much as I love the industry, I love putting my children to bed too.

Also, regarding stemming the loss of senior women from the industry after having kids, many companies pay lipservice to flexible working policies but do they really walk the walk? Do they encourage home working? Flexitime? Job shares?

The last 5 headhunter calls/LinkedIns I have had (for MD or dep MD jobs) have been cut very short when I have asked if the role is possible to be done a) part time, b) flexible hours or c) with some remote working……I don’t believe the agencies being recruited for are in the minority either…

More and more people with families are moving outside of London meaning evening/morning networking is even harder.  Ditto the increased uptake of webcasts and conference calls, great ways of staying in touch and up to date but the downside is they result in less physical interaction with peers and industry events.

This is a really important issue for our industry, thanks again for keeping it in people’s minds.


CIPR mentoring scheme launches – good news for the industry

The CIPR is piloting a national mentoring scheme for its members, starting in March 2011.






The CIPR hopes the annual programme of one-to-one personal engagement will develop and coach PR practitioners to achieve more from their careers.

Each mentor will go through training on the mentoring process, which will include guidelines on levels of engagement, expected commitment and what mentees should get from the scheme. The role of mentors may vary from the need to act as a role model, a sounding board, a guide and a skills developer to an advocate and a champion.

It is hoped the scheme will help advance the practice, professionalism, educational standards and status of public relations within the UK.

via CIPR plans to launch mentoring scheme to develop and coach PR staff – PR and Public Relations news – PR Week.

My thoughts: I think this is a GREAT idea.

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to be mentored by some of the best in the industry. I think formal processes around mentoring don’t always work such as strict timing, format etc) but putting people in touch with senior figures they like and respect is invaluable as is the possibility of external references, networking opportunities and learning from beyond the walls of your own agency.

Ditto for senior bods, I find I learn as much from the people I have mentored as they probably did from me.  Very worthwhile.

bit quiet of late….

As you may or may not know, I’ve been off on maternity leave for the last twelve months giving birth to and looking after a gorgeous girlie called Zahra. The year has flown and last week, I found myself back in the whirlwind world of PR and neck deep in stuff I had promised myself I’d read, apps I’d promised to check out, new social media sites to look at, a new mac to set up and use (having not done so previously) and work to fit in around this…joking Nick 🙂

I meant to write this last week but hey, I’ve been busy.

Leaving the girls again after a year at home is tough, I can’t deny that, but I am enjoying being part of the working world and a bit of adult company does wonders for the soul.

So expect more from me over coming weeks as I find my feet and catch up a bit. If anyone fancies helping me out with the top 3 things I missed in 2010, I’d be much obliged (smiling at you nicely Wadds, StephenChris, Ged, David, Paul and Jed)