FRIDAY 25 OCT 2019 9:00 AM


One in four women in public affairs has been sexually harassed at work and 96 per cent rate their sector as being weak at protecting and helping women deal with it, according to research published by Women in Public Affairs (WiPA).

The survey of in-house and agency public affairs professionals paints a bleak picture of discrimination, harassment and fear and has led WiPA launch a campaign to improve industry standards.

“This research should be shocking but sadly it isn’t. This is an urgent wake up call for our industry,” said WiPA Chair, Laura Sainsbury.

The results found that nearly 1 in 3 women (30%) rated the industry as poor at protecting and helping women deal with sexual harassment, with only 4% rating the industry as good. There is a myriad of areas the industry needs to make significant improvements on to promote an inclusive culture and help women succeed at work, WiPA stated.

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of women feel their company is not transparent about progression and pay, and nearly half (44%) believe their pay differs from their male counterparts in their company.

Respondents also highlighted a laddish, macho culture that “seems to require out of hours networking and ego. One woman remarked, “There is definitely a boys club and unfortunately I have a vagina.”

The research comes at an interesting point for women in public affairs as the appointment of MSP and former leader of the Scottish Conservative party Ruth Davidson’s appointment as a consultant to Tulchan drew a slew of negative national press in England and Scotland.

Next week’s @CommsChat will debate a week that has indeed proven to be a long time in politics.