Look at me Now

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I began this blog ten weeks ago with a big cup of coffee in hand, staring blankly at the page in front of me. Never having blogged before, I was nervous, but through out this time I have become more confident in the weekly hobby. I still have a lot to learn but…hey this is a start. It has opened me up to so many different sources for news, data, research. I have to say that The Atlantic has been my favorite publisher. The articles are both informative but personable. The data and statistics they collect are outstanding and really helps to argue their point. This is how you persuade me, evidence.

I have really dove into the subject of women in communications. It is clear that there is much more to be done in the office to support gender equality as well as discrimination. It is a cultural issue which takes time and presence to move forward.

My goal is to write at lease once a week or every two weeks. Being in school and working, I hope I will be able to commit because it has become my new favorite hobby. Why I never did it before beats me.

Diversity in the Industry

This week I am trying to change the scope to not just women in the industry but diversity as a whole. Companies are aware of the lack of diversity among their employees but are taking little to no steps to change that. What they are failing to realize is by diversifying their work force it makes the company stronger.

Think about it this way, why do you like Chex Mix? I like it because it adds a variety of different flavors, sure I might prefer the pretzels but I don’t want just a bag of pretzels…that’s boring. Because the pretzels are in unison with the variety of snacks in the Chex Mix, that’s why I like them. Are you following me?

Having a diverse work force from a variety of backgrounds brings new understandings of life, different solutions to hard questions, and a variety of perspectives. This all contributes to innovative and creative solutions in a competitive market.

People of color make up nearly one third of today’s labor force; Women make up 47 percent; gay and transgender workers make up 7 percent; People with disabilities make up

“At PwC, we believe in confronting the hard realities—and then doing something about it.”said Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ diversity division led by Maria Castañón Moats,“…If you cannot answer the diversity question clearly and favorably when it is asked in the recruiting process, young people are going to choose to work elsewhere.”

It’s true. Why would I want to work for someone who is simple minded in their hiring process? To me that says something about the work they produce (simple minded). Companies need to capitalize on the need of diversity in the workforce, especially with a younger generation entering the building that highly value it.

So to employers:
Don’t be a bag of pretzels. Be a bag of Chex Mix.

 

 

Tick-tock on the Clock

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“Tonight, I’m-a fight, ’til we see the sunlight, tick-tock on the clock,” I grew up singing and dancing in the car to this song. It is one of pop star sensation, Kesha’s greatest hits of all time. While her music helped me, she now is in need of help.

In 2014, Kesha sued Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, her music producer of sexual assault. Kesha claims that he emotionally and physically abused her. She recalls one night where he “forced” her to drink with him and the he instructed that she take “sober pills”to sober her up. The pills had the opposite effect. After taking the pills, she woke up naked in Gottwald’s bed with no memory of how she got there.

Gottwald denies the assault allegations and has filed a defamation lawsuit against Kesha, which is pending.

Seeking to break the contract injunction in New York, New York State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich rejected to release Kesha from her recording contract with the record label and Gottwald.

“As much as this case has some notoriety—and certainly, some scandalous allegations, as this judge said in her opinion—it is a case seeking to not have enforced compliance with a commercial contract.”

While Sony Music and Kemosabe, offered to have Kesha work with a different producer was a possibility, it was denied according to Mark Geragos, Kesha’a attorney because it was an “illusory promise,” adding, “When he says, ‘I’m going to have no involvement,’ all of the people who would do the things that are essential to putting out a record, all of those people report to Dr. Luke. There is no way that they are going to promote her, that they are going to do anything else except set her up for failure.” He has a point.

While I understand how this is a legal nightmare and it is not easy for Sony Music to cancel Kesha’s contract, it comes down to a basic human right. You can potentially be putting Kesha in danger by having her continue working at Sony.

“Her only condition is that she be allowed to record with a record label that is not affiliated with someone who has emotionally and sexually abused her.”

 

Why There’s a Lack of Women CEOs in the PR Industry

 

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Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer speaks with Pattis Sellers of Fortune Magazine on November 27, 2012 at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Dinner (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images for Fortune.). (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images for Fortune.

I want you to search “business leader” right now. What do you see? Is it predominantly pictures of men or women?  With women being the majority of the public relations industry, it is shocking to believe that men hold the majority of the higher positions. Why are there so many men as CEOs rather than women? It’s not that these corporations can not find qualified females for the position, rather it is the lack of trying to diversify within the company. There are no female CEOs in the top ten PR agencies but in general there is a lack of women CEOs. Only 12 of the Fortune 500 companies are run by women.

“There are still people who don’t think a woman can do the job as well as a man, no question,” says Di Maria, VP of corporate public relations and advertising at GE Capital. “Women just have to go in and steamroll over them.”

Corporations that lack diversity, especially gender, lack integrity. This is the 21st century why is this still an issue? There are women highly-qualified for these positions, more than ever before. Now I understand that men are considered underrepresented in PR but it is this industry that is leading the next generation to equality in the workforce.

Women face an immense amount of scrutiny in the workforce. They are sexualized and always have to be “put together” to be considered professional. I don’t know if the work place will ever be rid of sexual dynamics but shouldn’t people take into consideration what women have to go through? If anything, the women who make it to the top positions in corporations should be highly considered for the position of a CEO because of what they had to go through; more than any man. Women need to have thick skin and determination to get them where they want to go in this industry, which I find more valuable in the workplace than basic leadership skills.

In addition, women are often attacked if they have a family and are in the workforce. It is either they spend too much time in the office and not enough time caring for their family or the other way around. Honestly, either way people will have something to say. It is ridiculous. It comes as a natural instinct to want to be there for your family, so why are women scrutinized for taking care of their family? If women spend time in the workforce they are just being an example for their children that men aren’t always the breadwinner. Women who grew up with a working mother tend to have more powerful jobs than women whose mothers stayed home to care for them and did not work. In the United States, women with working mothers make 23 percent more than women whose mothers did not work. If anything, it shows that they can balance numerous thing but can put what’s important first. What comes after family is work, that’s how it is for most people BUT work can also be your other family.

 

 

Inequality Defines Media

In  “I Analyzed a Year of My Reporting for Gender Bias (Again)” an article written in The Atlantic by Adrienne Lafrance, it analyzes a number of articles and the gender representations in each. Out of the 136 articles written and the 2,065 people mentioned over the course of a year…only 25 percent of people mentioned were women. While this may be only one analysis of a strand of journalistic articles, it does not make it any less true that women are underrepresented in media. Male biases is huge in the world of journalism and media. Men are newsworthy, while women are seen as eye candy.

“When women do show up in the news, it is often as ‘eye candy,’ thus reinforcing women’s value as sources of visual pleasure rather than residing in the content of their views,” wrote a group of researchers from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University  published earlier this month.

With the help of Nathan Matias, a Ph.D. student at the MIT Media Lab and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, the two conducted various studies of Lawrence’s work and came to the same conclusion. The studies are consistent in the underrepresentation of women in media and the lack of female names as a source. What makes woman not the best possible source? Nothing.

Matias and Lawrence brainstormed on what could be done to make a difference:

  1. Actively look for stories about newsworthy women. “The key is that there are two major factors shaping who you mention: the people that your stories are about and the people who you rely on to make sense of those stories,” Matias said.
  2. Be more inclusive in what Matias calls the “one-off” stories, the pieces where there should only be one mention of a person, but don’t necessarily expect that person to be a fixture in the ongoing reporting.

3. Trying harder to cultivate more women sources.

Why Women Dominate the PR Industry

Despite popular belief, the Sex and the City character, Samantha Jones, is not the reason why women flock to the public relations industry. Public relations is not about opening up the hottest new clubs, rather is is an extremely difficult job being a critical role for various organizations. Jobs for public relations are growing at 12 percent a year which comes with a pay that women wouldn’t get elsewhere. Female PR specialists make on average $55,705, while the average for female workers is $37,232.

Studies have proven that women are mainly drawn to PR because they are collaborative and social in group settings, necessary skills for PR. For woman leaders to be perceived as effective they needed to demonstrate both sensitivity and strength; while male leaders only needed to demonstrate strength.

“Studies have shown that women tend to collaborate more and prefer to work on teams, whereas men usually do better in competitive environments and prefer to fly solo. That male approach works well for journalists, while having a bit of a ‘people-pleaser’ gene probably attracts and/or makes it easier for women to excel in the PR environment,” said Jennifer Hellickson, director of marketing at SweatGuru in Portland, Oregon in an interview with The Atlantic.

 

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Besides skill sets, women are also drawn to the PR industry because of its flexibility. Women can still be that stay at home mom and have a full-time job because some work doesn’t require the office.

The rise of women in the PR industry happened for a number of reasons and it will continue to grow. Could it be that because it is such a female-dominated field, women see it as a greater opportunity to hold a high-level position? Do women find empowerment in the PR industry is that why they gravitate to it?

Anna Wintour: the Myth, the Legend, the Woman.

4020853026_071a04a9e8_oConde Nasts, a premier mass media company holds the most iconic titles: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ, The New Yorker, Brides, the list goes on. This past year brought a bumpy path for the company, both good and bad. Its digital audience hit a record best in the first quarter of 2015 bringing in $1 billion dollars of revenue in 2015. In addition, at the National Magazine Awards, Conde took home the most wins including a Magazine of the Year award for Vogue. Although with the company move from midtown New York to the One World Trade Center, the decline in print-ad pages across most of its magazines and an extensive list of layoffs – the company remains.

Anna Wintour, the artistic director of Conde Nasts and the editor at Vogue, was named one of the worlds most powerful women by Forbes last year, and for good reason. She is a legend. She has hosted the Met Gala since 1999, has stuck with Conde Nasts through the years of highs and lows and is an iconic figure in the fashion industry being the editor for the fashion bible, Vogue.

New York Times writer, Ravi Somaiya interviewed both Bob Sauerberg, the new chief executive at Conde Nasts, and Wintour. In recent allegations by unnamed staff members, Wintour was said to be “dismissive when displeased.”

In the interview, Somaiya boldly brought the comment up. Wintour responded by asking, “Whether The New York Times was a tabloid newspaper, come on,” she said. “I am decisive, you know. I don’t believe in wasting anybody’s time. I like to be honest. I like to be clear. In my own personal career, I have felt almost the most difficult thing to deal with is someone who doesn’t tell you what they are thinking.”

While she disagreed with those comments, she believes that there is “an element of sexism” in the way that she is viewed. “But I decided long ago that I can’t let any of that bother me,” she said. “If my style is too direct for some, maybe they should toughen up a bit.” An honest lesson that I hope to learn.

In “The Devil Wears Prada” the revolutionary character, Miranda Priestly, based off of Wintour, is the only identification millions of people have of her – but she is more than this character. She may lack moral patience but the woman is driven by limitless passion. She is THE most powerful figure in the fashion industry. She is a woman who has inspired many in the business. Being more powerful than CEOs, celebrities, and some politicians the woman can out-do any man. Few women have demanded the respect, power and influence she has in the business world and for that…she is an idol to me.