Archive for May 1, 2012

Are Women Better at PR?

Recently I wrote to you all in response to questions raised about PR being a ‘Pink Ghetto‘.

Well, as a neat corollary to that article, I wanted to bring to your attention a companion piece that has raised the idea that women are actually better at PR than men, and may I say in anticipation of much ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ that this article was written by a real life MAN.  And while I am not sure I agree, certainly this article makes for great water cooler conversation, so let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

The brave man in question who has posed this proposition is Craig Pearce, Founder of Craig Pearce Strategic Communication, who says in his recent blog for PRIA that women have a leading edge in PR based on their natural attributes.
Craig says these attributes include:

  • Empathy. He says women come out ahead of men through the application of empathy because women in PR are able to ‘feel’ the situation faced by their clients and act accordingly.
  • Empowerment. Apparently women are better than men at sharing power, encouraging and mentoring employees (including direct reports) and sharing and giving praise (although it would seem to me that these characteristics would be useful not just in PR but in any industry).
  • Creativity in PR. Craig says that in exploring their creativity, women are more readily able to let go of the strictures that inhibit the mind from flying free and coming up with fresh ideas.  Fascinating!
  • Women are better writers than men. Indeed, this is a big call.  Craig says that writing is the number one PR skill, and while he is not claiming that women in PR are better writers than their male counterparts, he says that he has come across some ‘fantastic ones’.  Hmmm, this has failed to convince me, to be honest, but let’s continue…
  • Conversational.  Craig makes the point that perhaps due to empathy, as listed above, women they are superior at having conversations with a wide range of people, which is an excellent basis upon which to build meaningful relationships with stakeholders, and they have a seemingly natural aptitude for social media.
  • Women are more intelligent than men. Ok, hold on, we are on shaky ground here, but Craig makes the point that there are a lot more women getting into PR courses than men in Australia.  What can we extrapolate from this? Perhaps that more women than men are interested in PR, and therefore more are applying, not necessarily that they are more intelligent.  I am unconvinced by this one, although I can vouch for the many, many highly intelligent women who work for me and whom I have met and worked with in the field of PR.
  • Multitasking superiority in PR. Now here Craig may be onto something.  Women are known to be better multi-taskers than men, with PR being a very heavy multi-tasking environment. But is PR more multi-task driven than other professions?  That remains unclear.
  • Women are more ethical than men. OK now this is controversial.  I agree that being ethical is a fundamental component of best practice PR, but are women more ethical than men? Hmm, not so sure.
  • Men in marcomms are too up themselves. Wow!  Not sure how to respond to this.  Craig cites an article in Australia’s Marketing magazine by Mark Ritson who claimed that women in marketing are more humble than men. The former are more likely to put the good of the organisation ahead of their own ego. I am intrigued.  I can personally vouch for the fact that my team certainly put the needs of the client ahead of their own personal quest for kudos or glory, but is it just women who work this way?  I am not sure.

Now this article will put the cat among the pigeons for sure, (I suspect this is its intention) but it does raise some interesting points.  I would agree that women naturally suited to work in PR, due to their innate strengths in communication, collaboration and empathy.  But are they better suited than men, that is the question.

What do you think?

Yours in PR

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