It’s Women’s History Month, but over the last few weeks, it seem like we’ve gone back to the 1950s when it comes to women’s equality in this country.
For starters, it’s completely absurd to me that we’re debating women’s access to contraception in this day and age…and even more, it’s completely unacceptable that the conversation has been completely dominated by men.
Look at these statistics… of the 56 guests who appeared on Sunday morning shows in February, only four were women. Four, during what has been arguably the most woman-centric news cycle that I can remember.
Not to mention the now-infamous all-male panel at Rep. Darrell Issa’s hearing on female contraception. What should have been a PR disaster for the Republicans was merely a cold reminder of how women aren’t getting seats at the table.
And of course, there’s Rush Limbaugh’s sad excuse of an apology to Sandra Fluke…which speaks for itself.
But it’s not just Congressional panels or male-dominated talk media…women are underrepresented in every part of society and at every level of government. Had there been more than 17 women in the Senate, you can be sure the vote against the Blunt amendment would have been much wider than 51-48. The three Democrats to vote for the Blunt amendment? Men.
Why should this matter to our industry? A couple of reasons. For one, women are America’s most valuable consumers, holding the majority of the spending power and playing a formative role in decision making in the household. So as marketers, we have an interest in ensuring women are healthy, empowered, and secure.
For another, women are the heart and soul of the industry – and should be given a fair shot to the corner offices. We need their talents and their perspective – otherwise we’re not doing our best for our clients.
And as a father to two daughters, I want to make sure they have every opportunity that their brother does to make their mark on the world.
Whether you’re in PR or run your own business, there are things we can do at all levels of our organizations. We can build an internal culture with clear pathways for women to succeed and move up the corporate ladder. We can ensure women in our organizations have the same media training and media opportunities as the men.
As a big fan of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s non-partisan “Off the Sidelines” initiative, we’re pleased to be working with them to expand their social media presence and helping to connect women with ways to get involved and make their voices heard. The last few weeks have taught us that we have so much further to go when it comes to ensuring women have an equal voice in our democracy, our economy and our profession.