MONDAY 27 JAN 2014 2:16 PM


In 1964, the PR industry was undergoing a wave of professionalisation. Burston-Marsteller and Edelman were just over 10 years old and had recently expanded to London. It was in this landscape that Women in PR was founded.

The organisation, which provides a support network and resources for women working in public relations, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. On Thursday, the group hosted a discussion on the future of networking in honour of its birthday. Women in PR, according to joint-president Sue Hardwick, seeks to share knowledge across the generations and encourage women to succeed in PR.

The debate featured under-secretary for women and equalities and minister for sport and tourism MP Helen Grant in addition to Julia Hobsbawm, political advisor Ayesha Hazarika and Grayling UK and Ireland CEO Alison Clarke. The panel discussed the importance of network-building for women and the ways in which women in PR and in the corporate or public worlds can strengthen their careers.

Grant says, “If you’re a woman and you want to climb the corporate or legal or political ladder or you want to create an enterprise, there are often additional obstacles that need to be handled.” She adds that flexible working and understanding employers will be useful to women who try to achieve a sustainable work-life balance.

Hazarika says, “When women talk about networking it is viewed in a pejorative way.” She says women often have to prove their worth in a social or business context and thinks humour and knowledge are key weapons in a woman’s arsenal.

Women in PR recently became a sector group within the PRCA.