Diversity in PR…?

I’m a 24 year old black girl (black girl new continent, duh) so I’m involved in the conversation about diversity whether I want to or not.  At this point it really doesn’t phase me at all.  I always tend to be one of the few, if not only, african-americans in many academic or professional settings.

Even while studying for my MA in public relations and strategic communications at Leeds Beckett University, which hosts students from all over the globe – I was one of three black students last semester, and the only student this semester. Normal for me? Yes. Normal based on how the rest of the world looks? No.

According to Dr. Lee Edwards, Manchester Business School, “PR in the UK can be characterised as white, middle-class and gendered.”  Based on the graph below provided by Sue it’s clear that diversity in the PR industry is made up of caucasians females, with males in the board director and partner roles.

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Let’s clarify what diversity is – to me, I believe it refers to ethnicity, gender, ability, age, sexuality, religion, etc., etc.

Born and raised in Southern California most of my work experience has been in Los Angeles.  As diverse as Southern California can be, out of the six offices I worked in, I was the only african-american in all except two.

My work experience in the UK has been somewhat diverse.  Here’s the breakdown:

I work in an office with about 12 people. 7 men, 5 females.  While I am the only woman of colour,  there is another woman from Mexico (yay, diversity!)  However, males in the office hold all of the director roles (boo, lack of diversity). So, from the outside it may appear to be diverse, but if you take a closer look, we are still just another office lacking diversity.

I’m currently searching for a new position so it will be interesting to see what my experience will be like due to my background. Only time will tell.  And as always, I’ll be sure to share my encounters with you.

Thanks for the help: Sue, CIPR, PR Week, PR Daily

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