Young women in communications: what do we want?

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bubbobar smwldn vikki chowney

London — It’s Social Media Week in London and five speakers were chosen to address the topic on young women in communications, as well as the challenges and possibilities women have today.

Nowadays, an increasing number of women are able to attain influential jobs and important positions. Women are no longer struggling as much to obtain status and opportunities. We don’t have to look far — we live in a society where the longest reigning monarch isn’t a king, but a queen. Better yet, the Succession to the Crown Act came into force in March 2015, marking the end of male primogeniture across the Commonwealth of Nations.

The balancing progress is more promising than ever. Nevertheless, the gender gap is something that still needs significant narrowing in many fields and professions.

With great interest I attended Social Media Week in London and sat through the session for “Young women in comms; do we really know what they want?” The session was presented by Vikki Chowney, Patricia Erdei, Lisa Flechsig, Ruman Hasan, and Gemma Milne. The expectations of what I thought this topic would be about was the barriers society had against women, and how that would influence their use of social technology in the world. But in fact, what the speakers disclosed on the field wasn’t prejudice between the sexes but apprehension with their superior roles.

The experiences the women have in the workplace had inhibited their confidence. Since they were fairly new in their career, facing any prejudice or discrimination in their workplace isn’t clear or is merely disregarded. What they divulged in were the cultural influences that challenge women in communication.

Women are now more “visible” in the workplace and in high status positions, but need to be encouraged to speak up in social media outlets due to bigots outside of the media world. Culture influences the stereotype of female and technology. A speaker used a personal story as an example about her distant relatives in Romania. Her aunt with twin girls had differing personalities, one was into beauty while the other was into math. The mother discouraged the daughter, who was good at math, from being good at math since it was culturally unheard of. Here it is at an early age, females are discouraged to be a certain way, which changes the perception of what females should be doing.

Parents’ attitude toward gender stereotypes plays a big part in either empowering or limiting their child, boy or girl. What about the young generation? And more specifically, in relation to the topic of this session, what do young women in communications want? What do they need help with?

Recognizing someone’s goals, in addition to their potential, is a crucial step toward achievements. Women also need to be celebrated with the roles and positions they have successfully obtained, encouraging and assuring them that their job is being done right. Moreover, hearing other people’s stories can often have huge inspirational impacts. Social media outlets are a great tool to connect women about their experiences and opportunities, and in turn broaden their horizons of what they may be capable of achieving.

(Edited by Kathy L.)

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