WOMEN IN PR, CHANGING THE COURSE OF HISTORY.

In promotion of our BukiHQ Media for HER concept which reflects our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal of Gender Equality, Zainab Afolabi, shared eye-opening thoughts on ‘Women In PR, Changing the Course of History’.

“I recently stumbled across a profound article which highlighted how incredible women of the past had made use of PR to make significant changes to the course of US history, titled “Celebrating the Influential Women of PR”. 

The co-founder of the National Organisation for Women (NOW), Muriel Fox, who was the first woman to join the big agency Carl Byoir & Associates in 1949 stated that when she was interviewed by the agency, she was initially told that they do not hire women unless it was for a secretarial position which led her to take another job. She was later hired in the TV/radio department by an enlightened man who then became the head of all the departments and appointed her as the head of her department. Muriel later went on to become the vice president of the company, to everyone’s surprise. 

Muriel was met with words of discouragement, being told she could not go further as she could not be understood by men or that she should be grateful that she got as far as she did hence she could not complain about her pay. This infuriated her and inspired her to establish NOW in 1966 and made it illegal to discriminate against women in professional environments. 

Before NOW, people were able to confidently state and enforce the notion that women were not welcome to work at their companies; but with lobbying, protests, marches and a long hard fight, Muriel was able to make it illegal. Some words of advice Muriel gave to young women wanting to get into Public Relations was that they should “be good writers, public speakers and have accomplishments outside their profession, making you someone worthy of attention”. 

Another speaker was Barbra Hunter, the “first woman to buy major agency Dudley Anderson Yutzy in 1967 and later founded her own company, Hunter PR. 

Prior to this, Barbra spoke of her experience of working at a PR firm in the ’50s; how she had to take a 3/4 week break after giving birth and was promised her position would be intact. To her surprise, the position was filled in that short space and she no longer had a job. This was just one example of how they were treated by men. She also talked about her acquisition of that major agency and how the majority of the workforce left as they could not fathom a female leading the agency.  When she later looked into their employment records and found that the astronomical pay gap between men and women, she made it a point to equalize the pay moving on. 

In my opinion, these stories serve as not only a reminder of how far we’ve come but also as an inspiration to women who stumble upon roadblocks within the industry. As women, we can overcome and make new rules to suit us. Although there are still inequalities in pay and treatment within the workforce, it is important to note that this is not a reflection of the way in which women perform and to prove this, studies from Harvard show that women leaders are great for business and have increased profitability and efficiency across the board in many instances.”So, as Amanda Kahlow puts it quite succinctly, ”Stay true to yourself and your vision. Don’t let anyone person’s opinion move you; listen, but be confident”. #BukiHQMediaforHer

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