Last week a list appeared on David Brain’s blog of the most influential PR people in the UK on twitter. Let’s set aside the methodology; whenever lists like this appear their veracity is challenged, much as night follows day. What struck me most was the relative absence on women on the list in a profession that is dominated by women. There was only one female in the top ten – at number 10 as it happens.
According to Alexa there is only a very slight male bias in twitter usage. My view is that the quest for influence is more of a male characteristic and therefore on average men are more interested building followers than women. The language even suggests that networking has been a male dominated activity and if the old boys did it why should we be surprised that the new boys do too.
In the light of this imbalance it is excellent news that the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has appointed a woman to be its first ever Chief Executive Officer. The Director General post which it replaces had been a male preserve. When Jane Wilson joins on 4 October to sit alongside CIPR President Jay O’Connor both the top permanent role and the highest elected office will be held by women. Jane, originally from Glasgow, has extensive experience in PR and marketing, including leadership roles at First Ford in Scotland, Scottish Media Group and Capital Radio. “Jane is an exceptional communicator whose experience spans media, public affairs, investor relations, internal communications, policy and marketing” said president Jay O’Connor. “Jane is a strong leader with an innate understanding of PR and the experience and enthusiasm to lead the Institute on behalf of members and the profession.”