PR Fish Bowl

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TGIF: PR Winners and Losers This International Women’s Day

In the public relations world, every day is International Women’s Day, since women outnumber men and have for years (70%, according to the Institute of Public Relations).

But for the rest of the world, March 8 marks a range of events designed to inspire women and celebrate female empowerment. Rich and diverse local activities connect women through political rallies, business conferences, networking events, theatrical performances, and more.

In honor of this occasion, we wanted to take a look at some women making news at home and share our opinion on whether their rising profiles should be considered a PR “win” or a “loss” for womankind.

Winners

Sheryl Sandberg. Yes, we know the celebrated Facebook COO’s book is controversial. But, love her or loathe her, the author of the latter-day feminist manifesto (femi-festo?) Lean In is a winner in our book for the sheer volume of visibility she has generated even before its publication date. The proof will be in the pudding however; we’ll wait to see what kind of sales she racks up before finalizing our thumbs-up.

Marissa Mayer. Fresh from a ten-minute maternity leave, the Yahoo chief took an interesting stance on what has become the norm for so many progressive companies. She abolished tele-commuting in order to foster a more collegial and productive corporate culture. Again, the decision’s merits are debatable, but it was bold! (Rumor is she checked login levels to the Yahoo VPN and found them lacking.) And she has supporters; many suspect that out-of-office too often means out of the loop!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. For most women, they demonstrate class, smarts and humor. In fact, it’s already been suggested they parlay their hilarious Golden Globe hosting gig into an Oscars date next year. But there is a detractor. In a quote to Vanity Fair about a jab the two made during the Globes, Taylor Swift intimated that they were mean girls, deserving of “a special place in hell” for not being supportive of a sister. Instead of getting fired up, the duo responded with humor. A little “bossypants,” maybe, but a good move.

Michelle Obama. Kudos to First Mom Michelle Obama for a near-perfect rendition of “mom-dancing” on SNL, and for being willing to share the light side of her campaign to get us moving! And, while we’re on the subject, let’s give an honorary thumbs-up to “faux” mom Jimmy Fallon for helping FLOTUS bust some moves in an utterly appealing and non-partisan way. Again, they proved that a lighthearted pop culture poke can be a brilliant PR step.

Losers

Taylor Swift. That’s right, Swift came up short when she responded to the Globes wisecrack by blowing it out of proportion in a national magazine, weeks later! She also got it wrong when she cited Katie Couric as the source of the “hell” comment. (Actually, it was Madeline Albright.) We think there may be a special place in PR purgatory for divas who do NOT know how to laugh at themselves!

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