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Jamie Hardesty

This North East programme is aiming to help develop more female leaders

A new training programme aimed at women working in PR and related industries, launches on 19th October in Newcastle.

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations North East committee, the programme aims to help women at mid-career level gain the skills they need to reach the next step on the career ladder.

The programme of events will take place between October this year and June 2018. It has been designed in response to research about why women are disproportionately underrepresented at senior management level in the industry.

Last week research by international networking group GWPR (Global Women in PR) revealed that although women represent two-thirds of the global PR industry, 78% of the CEOs in the top 30 PR agencies worldwide are men and that men also occupy 62% of seats at the PR boardroom table.

Furthermore the CIPR State of PR 2016 report found that, even with regression analysis taken into account, a pay gap of £6004 exists.

Laura Richards, Marketing & PR Manager at Northstar Ventures, and member of the CIPR North East committee, said: “Research has shown that there are a number of reasons why women working in PR and related industries find it more difficult than their male counterparts to move into senior management roles.

“We wanted to find a way to address some of these, to try and encourage more diversity in the industry.

“We’re really excited about the programme of events we have lined up. We have some incredible speakers who will be leading talks and seminars, including experts from Accenture, leadership coaches, and the President Elect and Past President of CIPR.”

The CIPR North East committee stresses that the events are not only open to professionals who identify as women.

Jule Wilson, another committee member who has been involved in organising the leadership training programme, said: “It’s important to us that these events are seen as inclusive – they’re open to anyone who is interested in practical ways to increase diversity and equality at work.

“There is a much wider understanding today of the benefits that businesses enjoy when they have a diverse mix of employees at management, senior management and board level.

“We’d encourage anyone – male or female – who are interested in leadership development (their own, or that of their team), to sign up.”

The programme kicks off with ‘Mind the (Confidence) Gap’ on 19th October, where attendees will learn from Kat White, Service Management Lead at Accenture, about how to overcome imposter syndrome and workplace stereotypes.

Anne-Marie Lacey, Acting Chair of CIPR North East and MD of Filament PR, believes that more needs to be done to encourage gender equality in business.

She added: “As an industry we have identified that barriers exist for women who want to take on senior management or C-Suite roles. The next step is to find ways to overcome them.

“I hope that the CIPR North East Leadership Training Programme will provide aspiring future leaders with the skills and support they need to take the next step in their career.”

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