HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!


As we are about to (rightfully) commemorate Women’s Day in South Africa (9 August), it got me thinking as to the massive impact that women have had on my career in PR and communications. So (as a minority male in a female-dominated industry), I would just like to say thank you to all the women that have shaped the PR guy that I am today!

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And it’s not just in South Africa where women are dominating the field of PR and strategic communications – in the US, for example, women make up 63% of public relations specialists - according to latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and 59% of all in-house PR managers. According to the Public Relations Society of America, it’s an even larger split – estimating the female percentage to be closer to 73%.

So why is this the case when men are dominating almost every other professional field? Having trawled the Internet, I’ve come up with the following insights (by multiple, uncredited ‘experts’):

Scientists point to women having more of 'people-pleaser' gene, which probably attracts and/or makes it easier for women to excel in the PR environment.

Women are naturally social and are as comfortable making connections with new people (aka clients) as they would complete strangers – a significant skill when it comes to securing new client retainers.

Various studies have shown that the female of the species tend to collaborate more and prefer to work on teams (a PR must), whereas men usually do better in competitive or entrepreneurial environments, often preferring to fly solo.

Women are masters at active listening, when compared to males. They know when it’s time to listen and are more empathetic – this often helps them form stronger bonds with clients.

They’re leading in the social technology stakes. A study by Moosylvania in the US revealed that women are more likely to use devices such as smartphones and tablets to seek interaction, when compared to men.

The popular culture phenomena. Women are constantly plugged in (genetically?) to the world of celebrity and fashion. They just seem to know what Kim Kardashian wore / did / said in the past 24hrs and this skill has been amplified with the advent of social media. This is extremely useful when it comes to conceptualising creative PR tactics for clients operating in the FMCG and consumer lifestyle arenas.

Whatever the reason, women make this ever-exciting industry tick, so again, thanks for all the insights and guidance (as well as other information that is ingrained in my subconscious such as understanding women’s clothing sizes and knowing the difference between Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, vital stuff indeed!). Happy Women’s Day to all PR & Communications practitioners - in the words of the always inspiring Melvin Udall: “You make me want to be a better (PR) man”.

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