It's an age old question that is raised in most industries,
"Will Women Ever Be in Charge?"
Do We Even Have a Chance?
From a topical point of view, the quick and unequivocal answer would simply be: YES. Simply put there are more female than male practitioners and this would lend well to the rise of females in management positions. However, the industry has yet to see a proportional rise of females in these management roles and questions are being raised as to why this might be? The shift in female practitioners has gone up significantly in the last 20-30 yea
rs according to the US Department of Labor. This also shows that females working in the industry are less likely to be working in manage
ment level positions and
are simply stuck in technician roles, which then also has an effect on the pay of which they receive. As the circle of injustice keeps my head spinning, one must look further into reasons as to why this torpedoing spiral has yet to be broken. Could it be the image of the 'fluffy' PR girl and the glass ceiling effect on women in this industry?
In the book, Public Relations Strategies and Tactics by Wilcox and Cameron, the authors outline 5 reasons why the field of public relations appeals to women:
- women find a more welcoming environment in PR and see more opportunites to advance than in other communication fields.
- women still make more money in PR than comparable female dominated fields
- a woman can start a PR firm without a lot of capital
- women tend to have better listening communication skills than men
- women are more senstitve than men in facilitating two-way communication
Seems to me that the true problem here is the glass ceiling effect. The glass ceiling refers to a barrier that can simply not be broken. Differences in pay scale and advancement to higher level jobs between male and female practitioners are two examples of the glass ceiling effect. This effect seems to be systematic and not only referring to PR but most industries are seeing the same effect, however being that PR is a female dominated field this effect seems to be more severe.
It is disheartening to say the least, to look at these statistics as a female practitioner. Out of my MA course we have 30 females and 4 males and statistically speaking the males have a better shot at succeeding than we do because of the sex that we were born with. However, change is on the rise and it is up to females to rise above. We should no longer accept a technician role as success, but strive for a higher position. The stage is set for success, but will men get there before us?