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Not a PR Girl - International Women's Day

Group of women wearing "not a PR Girl" shirts

Article originally appeared here.

72Point’s Creative Director – Sam Brown spills the beans on why the term is part-derogatory, part-sexist, and as such, we are banning it!

PR has always been a very female-friendly business. Agencies and in-house teams are very often female-dominant spaces, and spaces in which intuition and tact is as valued as data and numbers.

But with that female-dominance comes the much-used term of ‘PR Girl’. The term that’s used to describe a communications professional of the female gender. Or is it…!?

In my 20-odd years in the business, I’ve used the term PR Girl numerous times, and of course, I’ve had it used against me. I say ‘against’ as it always feels so derogatory. I admit that I’m guilty of it, even though I roll my own eyes every time it slips out of my mouth.

When you google the term, the first page is full of articles like ’21 tips before you date a PR Girl’, complete with descriptions of the females being multi-taskers who speak in sound bites and immediately hit you up on social media.

The ‘official’ definition is shown as:

 ‘…pretty event helper who greets your customer, talks a bit about your product or just stands there looking beautiful to draw people to your booth. Some people also use the title to refer to a promo girl, which is basically the same thing.’

Not great, is it?

Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a menstrual-winge to coincide with International Women’s Day. It’s an issue that reflects our entire industry. Think about how PR is deemed the lesser-sibling of advertising – it’s the Big Ad Men versus the Little PR girls.

Or how (in the 00s and 10’s at least) it was a little PR girl approaching a burly male news editor to pitch their story. PR’s are always the ‘little one’.

But things have so drastically changed. PR’s are often male, news editors are often women, and we don’t have to stumble over a pair of DDs on page 3 to get to the news pages anymore.

The world, it would seem, has moved on.

So, if the industry has evolved so much; if our importance within the marketing mix is so much stronger, and if our work is more measurable and effective than ever… then why, oh why, do we still use the term that is so squarely stuck in the 1980s?

Today – on International Women’s Day 2023 – I am leading the cause, with my colleagues at 72Point by my side, to officially BANISH the term PR Girl!

For this, I am installing a ‘swear jar’ on my desk, and I shall throw in a quid every time it slips out of my mouth. I promise to pull up everyone that I hear saying it… nicely, and in a very tactful way, of course. And I will wear it loud and proud on my t-shirt to literally say it ‘with my chest’!

PR professionals, please join our cause and together let’s BANISH the term PR Girl for good.

It’s not big. It’s not clever. And we’re no longer the little ones.