Is there a difference between male and female public relations professionals? I can’t really believe that in the year 2006 we are still considering gender as a professional issue, but the question has come up three times since Friday.
First of all, Friday morning I was having a chat with an associate (male age 60+) about how much the CIPR has grown over the past five years. His comment was that the big female influx was the major driving force in the Institute’s growth. To me that raised the question, where were all the women before 2001? We most certainly were toiling away both in-house and on agency side. Why weren’t we adequately represented in the Institute of Public Relations? What’s happened since then to change this?
Then, later that same day, down the pub, I got talking to a local doctor (male age 40+) who said, “I’ll bet all men in PR are born liars.” I didn’t know how to react. Why would he assume male PRs are liars and females are not? Is the PR profession not deemed as worthy for a man of integrity, but all right for women? It was one of those comments that makes you go hmmmmmmmmmm!
Then yesterday, I came across Susan Getgood’s blogsite. She and I worked together in a previous life, and so I was interested to see what she is doing these days. I was a bit shocked to read the Women PR bloggers don’t like stereotypes entry on her blog. Why, in this day and age, does this recognised industry leader, who has successful track record as long as my arm, feel she has to defend women as professionals?
I guess my point is this. The human population is made up of men and women. Our profession is made up of men and women. This is 2006 not 1956. I would have hoped that we’d progress through the biases of the past to the understanding that in the workplace, gender is not an issue. Are my expectations too high? Please set me straight.