Does Gender Matter in PR?

Does Gender Matter everything-pr

I just read a rather shocking post by James Chartrand over on Copyblogger and it has really made me think about the role gender plays in promotion.

I’d suggest you go read the post first, but if you don’t have time, the long and short of it is that James Chartrand is not a man, but a woman. If you’re a fan of Men with Pens, or even Copyblogger, where James is a frequent blogger, this probably comes as a pretty big shock to you, as it did to many others this morning.

James Chartrand, the girl behind James - everything-pr

James Chartrand, the girl behind James

The reason James (her real name isn’t given) used a man’s name for many years online, was simply because it worked. When she applied for jobs as a work at home mom and later as just a woman, she got flack, low payment and disrespect. As a male, she was respected, paid better and treated better. Coincidence? I think not.

We live in a world that is predominantly macho. While Westernized countries tend to hide this fact and supposedly treat women better, many countries, including the one I live in, simply accept that the man is better and therefore should be respected. And, obviously, this sentiment is still running through first world countries, as well, despite the fact it is well buried.

What does this mean for PR? Do women have to fight for the same respect and positions that men hold? Are men automatically going to be able to promote businesses better? What are your thoughts?


  1. says

    Kudos to James as “she” apparently had to do what she had to do.

    I was stunned too, but then amused. But I cannot say that I felt betrayed even though we did exchange messages a couple of times.

    I find this to be the most interesting news of the year. Sure beats hearing about Tiger Woods.

  2. Tessa Carroll says

    As sad as it is, I have to say that this is absolutely true. It’s strange that in a business that, these days anyway, is female-dominated, men are still treated with a higher level of respect than women. The results that James saw with her name change are unsettling. I hope her story serves as a lesson to the men in charge everywhere.

    Tessa Carroll

  3. says

    I think most women won’t be too surprised by the fact that someone can earn more if they are perceived as male. My name is one that most people think is male, so maybe that has helped me in my writing! It’s high time people realized though that work at home moms are not here to work for cheap just because they are moms and female.

  4. Gail Kent says

    I read that post when it came out this morning and thought, “so what else is new?” Women have been discriminated against since time began, and just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’m sure the same “test” could be done with an ethnic-sounding name, and the results would be the same. White men get automatic respect and credibility until they prove themselves unfit. The rest of us don’t get respect and credibility until we prove that we deserve it, and even then, we don’t get the same level. Just look at the number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and the number of women in Congress. It’s pretty sad when a woman has to disguise her gender just to make a living. I only wish I’d thought of it first.

  5. says

    Sadly, I think this is sometimes true.

    I use my real name and gender. I will probably never know how much better I could have done if I had posed as a man.

    I do know that there are many times that prospective clients have contacted me because they were looking for a “work-at-home mom” who would work “cheaply.” Their words, not mine.

    I now appreciate all of those clients (including Everything PR) who do pay me fairly. Kudos to them!

    Great job on this Genesis.

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