Issues in Public Relations – Women in PR

Posted on March 28, 2010

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Women in PR and the power of the old boys club

I attended a debate the other week, looking at the role of women in Public Relations. The statement put to the panel was “Women will always work in PR but will never run it.”

I feel that one of the most difficult obstacles which women face in climbing the corporate ladder is the role of informal networking in the organization. “The old boys’ network is still alive and kicking, with a new form of informal male bonding reinforcing the glass ceiling against women” (Maxine Firth, The Independent). In the majority of cases it is not intentionally set up to do so, however it does prevent women and minorities from being truly successful in the business world, as they are not privy to as many opportunities. The old boys clubs tend to meet outside of office hours, building relationships on the golf course, at exclusive clubs, through private alumni’s and social clubs to name but a few. Those who do not belong to these elite circles of influence miss out on many career opportunities.

In an attempt to retain and motivate female employees, companies like American Express, GE, Johnson & Johnson and Time Warner are developing women’s networks that build skills, contacts and confidence. They provide an infrastructure within which women can earn recognition, and display their own talents.

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