This is a guest post from Kite Hill PR Account Director and international PR consultant, Tom Kirkham.
Like many other public relations professionals, I tend to prefer being the power behind the throne. But every so often you read an article that makes you think, "Hang on a second...", and in this instance, one needs to speak up. In this case, it is Digiday's article on 'the men of PR.' Apparently it's 'a different world' for men in PR. This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, of course it is! The world in general is different for men.
Let's clear up the falsities laid out in this article. Men in PR are just fine and shouldn't be getting anyone's sympathy. I don't know who or what Tory Burch is, and I don't particularly care, but I respect anyone's right to talk about it/her. Or Kim Kardashian for that matter. (Disclaimer: I'm based in London!) I saw her show once and had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on, but who am I to complain if my female colleagues (or indeed my male colleagues) want to have a bit of a chat about it. I can always go on a sports website, listen to Motley Crue, drink a beer, scratch my nether regions or adhere to some other ridiculous stereotype.
Some PR agencies may not be the right cultural fit for particularly personality types. But to have a guy describe a PR agency as being “...like a sorority house – every girl was the same and they liked talking about Kim Kardashian. If you were not a sorority girl who was into superficial things, there was no place for you" is downright offensive to me. And it should be to you, too.
Men do not need more help to get into careers such as PR. We work in an industry that has failed to get enough women into the boardroom, that has made slow progress on equal pay, slow progress on flexible working or job-sharing opportunities for women post-maternity leave and painfully slow progress on improving work/life balance, which can affects women disproportionately.
Shouldn't we instead be taking a more serious look at ethnic diversity? Diversity is about far more than just men and women.
The PR industry doesn't need more or fewer men. It needs equality of opportunity for people of all genders and backgrounds, and it needs fewer idiots.