Being a public relations student in one of the top-ranked programs in the country, academic competition among my peers is nothing less than fierce. Each student has been carefully selected based off of their talent and skills — and nearly all of them are women.
The question of why PR is dominated by females has been asked many times before. But I wanted to explore this phenomenon within the context of my own career and academic environment.
After doing a bit of digging around online, I found a couple of gender-specific reasons why professionals believe women dominate the PR industry:
1) Women can approach both women and men more easily than men.
2) Women are naturally more nurturing than men, thus they tend to be trusted more easily.
3) PR has similar qualities to other female-dominated markets. Brenda Wrigley, associate professor at Syracuse University, says the women choose PR “because the entry-level skills match well with what they earn in educational areas with large representation of women, such as the humanities.” (Working, 2010).
I think that this may be one of the most crucial and unknown reasons why women tend to work in PR — heck, I didn’t even know that.
4) Wrigley also states that women have tended to be good at writing, presentation, event planning, and technician skills (Working, 2010).
Who needs dudes?
Wrigley says that some recruiters are beginning to call for more men in the field. But the real problem is not that the industry needs more men, it’s that it needs more diversity in general.
Wrigley says that the call for more men in PR is ironic because in the old days no one used to complain that there weren’t enough women in the profession.
So what does this mean for female PR students like me?
More competition. Regardless of skill, it’s still a man’s world. Top management still tends to be male dominated. Even more than the average profession, men will be hired over women because they are “rare” within the industry. This makes candidacy among women fierce (as seen at my school).
And women are still getting paid less.
“Any time a profession becomes feminized, salaries tend to become depressed and the status of the profession tends to go down,” Wrigley said, citing nursing as another example (Working, 2010). This is an obvious bummer.
After completing my investigation about female domination of the PR industry, I wasn’t thrilled by the results. Though women run the PR world, men still seem to have the upper hand. Despite the fact that my gender may not give me a leg-up on the competition, my findings have motivated me to do and be my best everyday<