By Elena Eckhardt
On Tuesday 8th of March we celebrated International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was “Pledge for Parity”, aptly named as only days ago yet another report highlighting the gender pay gap was released. The report, conducted by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre in collaboration with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, found that amongst top tier managers in Australian organisations, men are paid on average $100,000 per year more than women.
Not only are pay gaps still at the forefront of workplace inequality, but within the media industry there also remains an inadequate representation of women, with 70% of newsroom journalists male.
Working in public relations is clearly the flipside of this, where the gender imbalance favours women. Of course there are many talented male PR professionals, but as is the case with females in the boardroom, they are strongly outnumbered.
Does PR attract more female candidates purely because of its glamourous depiction in pop culture by Samantha Jones in Sex and the City? Are more women in PR as it becomes harder to break into journalism, a “dying” industry?
I asked some of the women in our office why it is they work in PR:
“There are so many amazing businesses out there which have innovative products or game changing services which deserve to be recognised and enjoyed by consumers. I love that no day is the same – we are always doing something different to get great exposure for our clients’ brand,” says Grace Lee.
“Communication is my passion and this job allows me to do that all day, every day, in different ways, with different people. What I enjoy most is the diversity of the job, in just one day we go from writing a media release, to planning an event, to going for lunch with a journalist. The job is forever changing and exciting,” says Rochelle Blanch.
“It’s rewarding and satisfying to know that my skills are being used to make a difference in getting innovative and exciting products out there. I’m also constantly adapting and improving myself through the different tasks that come up and the different people I’m interacting with every day,” says Tiffany Wang.
“I love meeting amazing business owners and entrepreneurs who are living their passion, making a positive difference to the world and creating solutions,” says Monica Rosenfeld, WordStorm PR Managing Director.
Something I find interesting about working in PR is how little other people actually know about what it entails. It’s not all parties and champagne-fuelled lunches as Samantha Jones would have you believe. Every day is different and involves a multitude of skills, from negotiating to researching and of course planning and writing. Particularly in the digital era we have to be across new developments quickly, understand emerging platforms, sharpen up social media skills and find new ways to interact with influencers.
Some essential PR skills are considered “feminine” qualities, such as empathetic communication. However, at a recent communication workshop our team attended, we learnt that we all have different styles of communication, some direct, some spirited, some considerate, and each is suited to different situations. Not all women have the same style of communication and everyone brings unique strengths to our team, regardless of their gender.
On International Women’s Day we were taking the opportunity to celebrate all the women in business we work with, from our inspirational clients who have taken great risks to start their own businesses and all the journalists, editors, bloggers and media entrepreneurs, who may have overcome challenges to get to where they are today.
Hope you had a happy International Women’s Day from WordStorm PR!