Written by Sophie Hodgson
We’re not awarding men and patting them on the back for being male and successful, so why are we doing the same to women. And before you start shouting at your computer, I do get that women in many industries have to fight against the system and tackle a ‘boys club’ that is unfair and doesn’t reward them for their talents and abilities. I just don’t think, in my experience, that PR is one of them. By creating women-only awards, I question what we are achieving? We demand to be treated as equals and then underline our differences with such lists and parties to which the boys are not invited.
The ‘women in…’ debate is one that has raged for years and we have men fighting our corner as well. I particularly liked Derek Du Preez’s take on the battles women face in Silicon Valley – or indeed more established tech firms. The apologies that they feel must be made for having children and therefore not being able to work every single hour of the day, just most of them. It’s a great piece and well written, yet something about it jars with me. At a time when women have more role models than ever, such as Kathryn Parsons and Hermione Way, calling out that we’re different just seems, well, awkward.
It’s no secret that I firmly believe you make your own opportunities in life. I blogged a few years ago about sexism in PR and whether or not it really existed – the crux of my argument was that women should man-up (so to speak) and crack on. Fast forward to 2014 and I’m now a mother and still working in PR, so do I still hold firm on my original argument?
Yes, actually. I was at a gathering last week for an event in a few weeks that will look at culture in tech agencies and one of the other speakers stated that while women were better at PR, men were pushier and prepared to shout louder. Nobody contradicted him and it got me thinking about whether the fact that there are more men in management positions in PR is because women simply aren’t putting ourselves forward enough?
Life does not fall into your lap. You have to go out and grab it with both hands. Think your boss is sexist and it’s limiting your new potential? Find a new one or become your own. It can be hard to stick your neck out, terrifying in fact. But now I have kids (okay, one) the biggest singular lesson my daughter has taught me is how to be fearless. She isn’t scared of anything (if you don’t include vegetables) and I truly believe there is a lesson to be learned here.
I’m not saying that women’s achievements shouldn’t be celebrated and yes, of course, there’s a need for more diversity but I just desperately wish things were in OUR hands, not those of the numerous list makers. Perhaps I am naive or perhaps, just perhaps, we need to reclaim a childish attribute lost many years ago and see where it takes us.