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Will Social Media Shatter the Glass Ceiling?

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Despite our country’s great strides in working to give women equal rights in virtually every aspect of society, there is still a “glass ceiling” both in PR and in the broader Fortune 500.

There are small signs of improvement.

According to Fortune, there are more women running Fortune 500 companies this year than there were last year.

Currently, 10 Fortune 500 companies are run by women (up from 9 last year), and a total of 20 Fortune 1000 companies have women in the top job (up from 19).

Still, this number is shameful given the strides we have made in our society to give women their deserved equal footing. (Note: Edelman’s US CEO, Pam Talbot, is a woman and there are many women in senior leadership positions in our firm.)

Sun Ho Shim is tracking this on her blog, which is aptly called The New Majority in PR: Women. In January she noted that women account for approximately 20% of all PR bloggers.

This is despite the fact that 60% of the PR workforce are women, according to a recent survey by PR Week. We need more of our female colleagues joining us.

Social media and blogs specifically have played a major role in creating a flat Earth. I told a group of MBA students from Baruch College in New York this week that if they wanted to they could find a under-served niche in the blogosphere, create an active blog to serve it and conceivably earn money in the process.

Despite all of the wonderful changes in marketing and PR over the past couple of years, we still have a long way to go in leveling the playing field for women in our workforce and overall as well.

I believe that over time, at least here in the US, social media can level this inequality.

If more women blog about this situation, it has will mobilize them to a) find each other and b) act together. This will accelerate if the mainstream media takes notice. Could social media create a new movement? History has repeated itself before.

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

Will Social Media Shatter the Glass Ceiling?
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