Kids do not ruin your PR Career: our response

On 1 June, not the 1 April, PRMoment published an article by Hacked Off Flack entitled: Why Hacked Off Flack reckons kids ruin your PR career.

It was first brought it to my attention by Sarah Stimson, a successful mum of one (soon to be two) who runs the inspirational Taylor Bennett Foundation placements, supported by the CIPR and many other agencies.

The link was then shared again by my great friend and colleague Rachel Miller, who approached Stephen WaddingtonSarah Hall  and I for comments.

Between us we have more than 80 years’ experience in Public Relations. Stephen is Chief Engagement Officer of Ketchum and Rachel, Sarah and I all run our own business and have agency experience.

Artwork by Daisy Miller, glamorous nails by Rachel Miller.

Here is our response:

Don’t reinforce gender stereotypes – it’s not helpful

Sarah Hall FCIPR said: “It’s astonishing that PRMoment would think to commission an article with such limited thinking let alone publish it.

“This type of factually incorrect drivel sets the industry back thirty years by reinforcing the stereotypes we continue to fight. Working mums regularly over compensate at work for many reasons, including an age old corporate culture perpetuated by this kind of rubbish. It’s utterly depressing.

“The column reflects on the lack of professionalism and commitment of the author, rather than the dedicated women within PR I know and respect.”

PR is modernising; articles like this set the industry back

Rachel Miller FCIPR said: ” As a professional communicator, I’m adept at influencing, persuading, multi-tasking and saying no. Turns out these skills are invaluable in my other role as mum to three young children too.

“This article is the most unhelpful I’ve read. It’s unsavoury, does not reflect the reality of working parents and has no place in an industry which is striving to modernise. Shame on PRMoment for giving it airtime.”

There are opportunities in PR for those with talent, parent or not

Stephen Waddington Hon FCIPR said: “This thinking is prehistoric. It helps no one. It turns women off working in our business at worst and is link bait at best.

“We’re all working harder than ever irrespective of our personal situation. Our business is not perfect but we’re self-critical and strive continually for change.  There’s a role in public relations for anybody that has talent irrespective of personal situation.  I look forward to PRMoment’s guide to PR in the 1930s next week.”

And I get the final word:  “The Chartered Institute of Public Relations is pushing hard to professionalise and modernise.   I do not recognise anything in this article.  I am proud to be the first CIPR President to start their tenure on maternity leave.

Being a working parent is just a way of life. Suggesting that women can’t handle the challenges this brings is unprofessional and deeply sexist. It doesn’t matter that the column is written by a woman; in fact this makes it worse.

Today I am reflecting on a week in which the public relations profession celebrated all that is great about our industry at the CIPR Excellence Awards.  There were more women than men in the room (our industry is after all 67% female). Some of those have a child, some have more than one and some have none.  I have no idea who was who.   All I know is that there are many women – and men – with children doing amazing work for clients and organisations and many of those won awards on Wednesday.”

Update: PR Moment published this clarification about its article on working mothers. We still stand by our comments – the piece was neither amusing or a platform for discussion – and hope it will follow up with a more informed piece on the challenges and opportunities that come with life as a working parent.

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Sarah Pinch FCIPR, MIoD is MD of Pinch Point Communications, President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in 2015, and a Non Executive Director of the Health and Safety Executive.

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