Phoebe from Positive talks about women in PR for International Women’s Day!
Throughout history, women’s ability to communicate effectively has been disparaged by patriarchal slurs. Women were often labelled as ‘soft’ and ‘weak’ because they preferred words over violence, and were relegated to drawing rooms where only certain topics of conversation were deemed ‘feminine’. However, in modern times, women have embraced their power of communication, and some have even built successful careers out of it. While it is true that men can also be exceptional communicators, I personally believe that the communications industry as a whole is not inherently designed to favour masculine modes of success. This is why the industry tends to be female-dominated, as it is uniquely suited to capture the wonderful power and creativity of women.
When I think back to managerial roles in previous industries, this certainly wasn’t the case. I was told that to be a good manager involved in laying down the law, raising my tone to be heard and dialling up the ‘red’. I replied “so act like a man”, to which they responded, “Basically…yes”. It is a sad truth that often women are expected to adopt masculine attributes to be recognised as influential and important team members. This is why my experience in Public Relations was a breath of fresh air, I was amazed at the space given to voice ideas, suggestions and critiques. A space that accommodates healthy debate and therefore drives creation.
Ultimately, the biggest difference I noticed in communications, was that colleagues no longer saw me as one-dimensional. The industry recognises my and every other colleagues (of all genders) unique qualities both subtle and overt. Ultimately what makes an industry successful at maintaining equity between genders, is one that accepts the complex and wonderful nature of women. For me, a workplace that truly values both genders is one that treats people as a whole, not a set of attributes laid out by a patriarchal view of success and efficiency.