Most Major Industries Are Lacking in Female Leaders…But Not PR

Everyone with an internet connection knows about the lack of strong, highly visible female executives in the tech world. There’s a reason Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer stand out so prominently, and the recent firing of Business Insider‘s CTO for posting misogynistic musings on Twitter led many tech bloggers to reflect on the “bro culture” that dominates Silicon Valley.

It’s not just tech, though. The snafu over publisher Bryan Golbderg’s new “female-focused” web magazine Bustle showed that the media/journalism world still disproportionately consists of men catering to female audiences despite the prominence of names like Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown. In September, a software project created by an MIT grad student to measure the presence of women in journalism found a general lack of female voices in traditional media even though a majority of readers (and bloggers) are women.

When we saw yesterday’s New York Times headline about “a lack of women in top jobs” on a list meant to celebrate the most powerful women in banking, our first thought was: what about PR?

The sex-discrimination lawsuit filed against Publicis last year prompted some to ask whether PR discriminates against women, and it’s still a question worth asking in an industry run by a growing majority of female professionals. But we see a business filled with female execs every bit as worthy of a profile as Mayer or Sandberg.

We’re still relatively new to the industry, but we’ve already interacted with influencers like Arment Dietrich CEO/Spin Sucks writer Gini Dietrich and Leslie Gaines-Ross of Weber Shandwick. Also: a majority of the staffing and hiring announcements we post in our roll call column, which only covers jobs at the VP level or higher, involve women.

This leads to two general but important questions: how can firms help clients in other industries counter the popular perception that their c-suites are “old boys’ clubs”? And how can the incredible array of talented women in public relations inspire those who work in other fields? We’d love to read your thoughts and pitches.