In Public Relations: Why Do Women Outnumber Men?

While catching up on some reading recently, I stumbled upon this video from Ragan.com in which three New York City public relations professionals – all women – discuss why they think women dominate the public relations industry.

In their answers, the three indicate that they think women have some innate qualities and interests that match them to the profession. “Women are passionate about communication, and passionate about connecting,” one says. Another cites expert skills with multi-tasking: “It’s one of those myths that is true,” she says. The third indicates that a trend of strong women mentoring other women has helped grow the number of women in the field.

Depending on your source, women account for as many as 85 percent of those working in the public relations field, up from 27 percent from 1970.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything I saw in the video – including the assertion that men’s interest in going in-depth on a topic vs. multitasking explains why there are more men in journalism than in public relations – I think the demographic shift is interesting. My less-than-scientific research on the matter turned up a number of other articles and blog posts that suggested other reasons for the gender imbalance in public relations. Among them:

  • The idea that women are perhaps more empathetic and have better “people skills” than men.
  • Women’s ability to build and maintain relationships.
  • The disproportionate number of women graduating from college with degrees in communications and the liberal arts.
  • The portrayal of public relations in the media (Samantha Jones, etc.).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but it was a combination of skills, interests and experience that led me to the public relations field. But I’m interested in hearing from our readers, both men and women: Why do you think women outnumber men in the PR field? Do you agree or disagree with any of the above assertions?

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2 Responses to In Public Relations: Why Do Women Outnumber Men?

  1. Janan says:

    Innate, no I’d say women are skipping other majors like math and science, because it’s still thought in America, women aren’t good in those subjects. We need more women in the STEM fields, so there has to be more articles for women in those fields. To say communication is innate, is rather sexist, because it boxes all women into a certain mode of being. I really dislike gender specific innate type of thinking. Another one I don’t like is “women are better at multi – tasking”. . This puts a lot of
    weight to be a certain way on all women. Women are NOT all the same, we are individuals.

  2. Janan says:

    I’ll tell you about my experiences. When I was 18 and out of high school, I went for the traditional female job of being a receptionist. I was let go of in a week. Reason, I couldn’t multi – task. After that experience, I realized I was a focus person. Couldn’t do more than one thing at a time. All around me, people say “women have more empathy, are better multi – taskers .
    It’s all bunk and it effects women’s choices in college. Also women maintain relationships better is a stereotype. The people who have disappeared most in my life have been women. Women also were back stabbers, and ended friendships. I wish these stereotypes would go. They do nothing for women or men. Men have been my lasting friendships, where there was depth and real friendship. This actually has happened to many women.

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