Since its inception 61 years ago, the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) has had phenomenal women at the helm, as custodians of the body of knowledge of the industry and are continuing to make strides in their careers.
A total of 11 or 23.0% out of 48 PRISA presidents so far were women. These women collectively have no less than 165 years’ experience in the public relations and communication management industry. The Institute’s first woman president was elected in 1993, since then 18 presidents have been at the helm, with 11 or 61.0 % been women.
In terms of the organisation’s Public Relations Consultancy Chapter (PRCC), 16 or 69.5% of the 23 consultancies currently registered, are owned or managed by women.
The role of South Africa women in PR has been in the spotlight and in particular their role in leadership and shaping the narratives for their organisations and clients.
Women are also taking the lead in the academic field. The University of Huddersfield funded a Global Alliance research project, Global Capability Framework for the public relations and communication profession. The University of Pretoria, with Professor Ronel Rensburg, who is also a former PRISA President in the lead, were academic partners for the study in South Africa.
In the South African context, most of the women in this industry are involved in making sure that the top three most important capabilities identified by the global capability framework; reputation, ethical conduct and research, are not a hindrance to a well-functioning industry.
Transformation of the industry is not about numbers, but it is about shaping the industry to one that is not only inclusive but is able to transform the national agenda through the narratives and programmes that are managed on behalf of organisations.
South African women in the industry have proven their mettle and are making their mark both locally and globally. Their new reality is about empowerment, about allowing women to unleash their own power by removing systemic barriers.
Mama Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, who would have turned 100 this year and the 1956 generation are surely continuing to be an inspiration to women around the globe for their fortitude and exemplary leadership.
Wishing all women, a happy Women’s Month.
Malesela Maubane – Maubane (@MaleselaB) is a Limpopo based public relations strategist, @1PRISA registered Chartered Public Relations Practitioner (CPRP), President and Chairman of the Board.