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Celebrating International Women’s Month- Inequality in PR & Marketing

By Verity Harrison-Allan, PR & Social Media Executive

Every March the world celebrates the achievements of women, with International Women’s Day on the 8th and the whole month declared Women’s History Month. So, it is fitting that we explore why we need to celebrate and recognise women and what governments and businesses need to do to achieve equality.

According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, despite the progress that has been made to date, globally there is still a 31.4% gender pay gap, only 25% of 35,127 of seats in parliaments are held by women and in some countries, women are not represented at all. These are only a few of many statistics that provide evidence for the need for change.

There is a clear connection between money and gender equality. Those who live in poverty are more likely to have higher rates of gender inequality across all sectors. For example, countries with low literacy rates see higher rates of gender inequality due to the lack of girls going to school and limited curriculum for boys not promoting equality.

However, this is not just the case for poorer countries. The Global Gender Gap Report of 2020 saw the United Kingdom ranked 21st and The United States, ranked 53rd on the gender pay gap scale, lower than poorer countries such as Rwanda, Mexico, Costa Rica, to name a few.

When I sat down to write this article on equality, the words of Virginia Woolf came straight to mind. Virginia Woolf was an English writer, modernist, and feminist renowned for her writings on equality and feminism. Her essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’ highlights the issues we have today despite it being one hundred years since its publication. The essay’s main theme is that women cannot be free without having control of their finances and having a ‘room of one’s own’, having property and bank accounts. Although these physical gains have been achieved, the writings of Virginia can still be understood today, specifically the link between equality and money, highlighted in the issues of the gender pay gap and women holding positions in power.

Evidence can be found in the PR & Marketing industry. While the industry is seen as prominently female - women make up 62% of the marketing workforce - men hold most senior roles and take the top salaries and bonuses. Companies that have women on their board of directors seem to be outperforming their competitors at reducing the gender pay gap, where the average has been stuck at 14% for several years now. However, according to the Annual Index is a GWPR (Global Women in PR), only 1 in 10 women have seats in the boardroom. Not surprisingly, this is predominately down to childcare responsibilities. This can be avoided. The Covid pandemic resulted in a huge change in how we work. The rise of work from home and flexible working allows women to be able schedule their childcare more conveniently allowing women to continue moving forward in their career.

Women should be paid equal and be able to get promotions they deserve to create a competitive atmosphere that encourages them to strive for further career success. Companies need to invest time and resources to even the playing fields - they need to show us change, not just promise it. Implementation of training schemes, mentoring and examples set from above are just a few examples of how we can make a change to the workplace. Even just giving women like me the platform to write a blog on inequality in marketing gives women a voice to spread awareness and put pressure on those in authority to make changes in the industry.

It is common for marketing, pr and social media agencies to have blog pages or news pages, and to use them to spread awareness of their own campaigns. I encourage those who do to also use their platforms to spread awareness of inequality in their own sector as well as celebrating the achievements of their female employees.

For more information on Petersens PR please contact us at 029 2054 9597

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