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International Women’s Day on March 8 – why are senior PR women not paid the same as men?

Equal pay 1It’s International Women’s Day on Saturday, 8 March, a day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  Whilst it celebrates success, it also reminds us of the inequalities which still exist.  And in the world of public relations, some of those inequities are only too apparent.

As the PR Census of 2013 revealed, public relations has a young, female industry profile.  Of the 62,000 employees, 63% are women, but the gender imbalance switches in the more senior positions, where men tend to dominate: at board level it’s 29% male with 13% female, and in comms director jobs it’s 12% male and 5% female.

And differences continue when it comes to salary.  The CIPR 2013/14 ‘State of the Profession’ survey showed the disparity in pay between men and women, with an average gap of over £12,000 in favour of men.  More disconcerting is that from Senior Account Executive/Press Officer level and above, men are being paid more than women, even when doing the same job.

Unfortunately, this inequality is widespread.  Back in December 2013 the Office for National Statistics, reporting on average earnings across all sectors in the UK, highlighted an increase in the gap between men’s and women’s earnings, from 9.5% in 2012 to 10%.  This was the first time in five years that men’s earnings had risen faster than women’s.  Over 40 years after the Equal Pay Act came into force in the UK, women now experience one of the highest pay gaps in the EU.

Equality 3With the theme of Inspiring Change, International Women’s Day is encouraging advocacy for women’s advancement and working for positive change.  Unfortunately, if pay is anything to go by, we still have a long struggle ahead of us, be it in public relations or any other industry.

But let’s keep the faith and do what we can to ensure that the 63% of PR practitioners who do the same work as the other 37% are rewarded equally in 2014 and have the same opportunities to reach the top.  We can do it!

And if you’re in London on Saturday March 8, why not join in the Women’s Day Walk which launches CARE’s Walk In Her Shoes campaign.

If tweeting about this please use the @womensday hashtag #womensday #inspiringchange

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