Take a look around the public
relations industry and you'll find a firmly established lower echelon that is
almost exclusively female. I call it the new girl network and it's rapidly
replacing the final vestiges of its old boy predecessor.
I've noticed it in college lectures,
in meetings with interns and in job interviews. It's unsettling and unhealthy
because too much of anything is bad. And, too many young women will distort the
cultures of our organizations and impact the end result of our industry's
I find it interesting that the PR
powers that be are ignoring this alarming trend choosing, instead, to salute
both the up-and-coming and firmly entrenched women of power.
Women should be proud of their
accomplishments in shattering PR's glass ceiling. But, somehow, some way, they
are now fostering a different type of ceiling that, while not inhibiting the
advancement of young men, is sure as heck scaring them away from our
I think our trade groups, leaders of
the largest agencies and top academics need to acknowledge PR's dirty little
secret and devise strategies to make us more diverse and balanced from a gender
If we continue to ignore the
obvious, the industry will pay the price down the road (as other, more
gender-balanced industries who better reflect our increasingly diverse
population, spring up to fill the obvious gap).