LONDON — British networking organization Women in PR (WPR) has launched its first “45 over 45” list of women in public relations aged over 45, in a bid to showcase the industry’s senior talent and to inspire the next generation of female leaders.
The list was devised after research by WPR revealed that 34% of women working in communications have experienced ageism at work and 52% of women under 50 do not see themselves working in the same part of the world. industry when they turn 50.
WPR board member and independent consultant Kate Clarke told PRovoke Media: “We’ve had recurring comments from members about diminishing opportunities for women as they get older, so we started by finding out the truth. The search results were depressing – what a waste of talent that would be; there has to be a smarter way to retain women in the industry.
“I’m really passionate about the idea of role models – and we know from our own mentorship program how hungry young women in PR are to learn from older women – so we were thrilled to put together a list. which would celebrate older women in the industry.”
the WPR 45 of 45 List for 2022 includes a mix of in-house and agency professionals as well as women who have established themselves as independent practitioners and those who have returned to the profession after parental or caregiving career breaks.
WPR received more than 200 nominations for the 2022 list, which was assembled by a panel of judges including Tara Macleod, founder and director of consultancy Age Remade; Effie Kanyua, former director of public relations and communications at publisher Hearst; Lucy Caincross, UK executive director of public relations recruitment firm VMA Group; Lornette Harley, client consultant at diversity agency The Unmistakables; and WPR Ambassador and Executive Chairman of Lansons, Tony Langham.
Women in PR President Anna Geffert said, “Today is a bold celebration of the age and experience of women in our industry, and we are very proud to be pioneering this. movement. Our industry has missed a trick when we only focus on young people. The 45 Incredible Women PRs represent every corner of the great church within PR – and confirm that it is possible for women in our industry to carve out long, challenging and valuable careers.
“Nurturing and inspiring the next generation of female leaders is the spirit behind WPR’s mission – and we can’t do that if a woman’s professional journey ends in her early 40s. Our “WPR 45 over 45” list will inspire the next generation of female leaders and help shape a better future for the sector. »
Six of the 45 women on the list – 13% – are black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background, and Geffert said WPR is committed to improving diversity in the coming years: “WPR prioritizes the whole equality, diversity and inclusion and we looked at our 45 of 45 list through that lens, to make sure it was as diverse as possible. However, we only received a limited number of applications from women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. It’s a sad reflection of our industry, and it needs to change. As the recent PRCA census showed, the PR industry still lacks ethnic diversity and this seems to be particularly the case within the over 45 age bracket.
The women on the list will be celebrated at a launch event this week, after International Women’s Day. The event will include a panel discussion on ageism in public relations chaired by journalist Eleanor Mills, founder of Noon, a community and online platform for middle-aged women.
Mills said: “It’s great that Women in PR is celebrating the role older women play in their industry. We live in a society that puts young people on a pedestal and today we’re reversing that and holding high. inspiring older women – recognizing their value, effectiveness and accomplishments Opportunities for women as they enter their 40s are limited and this is true in public relations but also in the media industry as a whole. Employers’ lack of vision to recognize the value of experience acquired over the years results in a terrible loss of talent.
“It’s not just middle-aged women, it’s all women. We want everyone who follows us to look forward to turning 45+ as the age of opportunity when they become the women they were meant to be. We need a new narrative around the final stages of women’s lives. I see so many inspiring women at this point, but their stories are rarely told or celebrated. That’s why this WPR initiative is so important. Kudos to WPR for forcing the discussion.