The majority of communications and PR professionals are women. With that in mind, over 39% of those women are in managerial positions, and a good number own their own PR firms.
This is a great indication of how women are overcoming some of the challenges they face in leadership positions, even though it is happening at a slow pace.
Organisations such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) encourage women to strive for excellence and show that true leadership cannot be attached to gender but to one’s dedication and commitment.
“Women are still dealing with a system that has sidelined them from the corporate world or the world of work. Not only are women having to fight for their voices to be heard in the workplace, they also have to contend with asserting their position and progressing into positions of leadership,” says Oratile Kganakga, PR account executive at The Dynaste Communications Firm.
Kganakga adds, “By occupying more positions of leadership, women will have a seat at the table and form a great part of the decision-making processes, where their influence will address issues of gender inequality in the workplace. Women in leadership positions will also recreate and introduce systems that are gender neutral, ensuring that women no longer have to fight twice as hard as their male counterparts for their voices to be heard”.
Despite the various issues women may face because of their gender, they are continuing to challenge the status quo of associating leadership with gender, which they are doing fearlessly and confidently.
Women are innately nurturers, and when they are in leadership positions, many use their power to upskill and empower other women. Most women in positions of leadership believe in the power of the pack, and thrive when other women succeed and grow under their leadership.
“We need to support each other and know that we all have our own unique strengths and attributes that can indeed help lift each other up. We need to remember that we are actually made to nurture and encourage. We must bring those attributes to the workplace too,” Bronwyn Roets, managing director at Exposure Unlimited.
To emphasise Roets’ statement, Nokubonga Iviwe Ndinisa, communications manager at Sibanye Gold, says everyone in the workplace or in society benefits with the creation of a supportive, nurturing environment from women. She also adds that when women lift each other, they model the respect and opportunities they wish to see.
Roets has made a great contribution to the industry, and her Hands of Hope Development Programme offers female inmates at Kgosi Mampuru with communication and PR skills to display the impact of the power of the pack and how women can achieve a lot when they work together.
For decades, women were told that balancing work and their personal lives would be highly impossible. However, this discouraging sentiment has not stopped them from achieving their full potential, be it in communication and PR or any other professional field, women are on a mission to change the status quo.
The success of women should be celebrated, not just on Women’s Day but on every other day. The contribution they make in society should be acknowledged, in a professional or personal space.
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