In my last post I intended to talk about the conflicts in the former Jugoslavia in the 90s. I ditched that subject because I was having hard times trying to find right words to talk about such difficult and sensitive issues. This time however I'm feeling brave and decided to enter a real verbal "minefield" and talk about sex. Let's see how far I manage to get before saying something unappropriate...
First the facts: as we all know men are better than women in basically everything: driving, football, cooking and so on. The only question remaining is whether men are better in PR? Antoaneta Vanc and Roxanne Hovland from the University of Kentucky, USA, decided to find out in their research "Perceived Gender Preference and Physical Attractiveness For Corporate Public Communicators in Romania" (2008).
Joking aside, the research is actually relevant to the subject of our blog. Vanc and Hovland's research questions were:
- Would participants in the study perceive that men are more credible than women as public communicators?
- Are there any differences in how men and women view women/men as corporate spokespersons?
- Do women/men perceive that in organizations it is important that women look attractive?
- Do women/men admire men with athletic bodies?
Romania is an interesting country for a research like this. Under communist regime men were preferred to women in the elite groups in most organizations. According to Vanc and Hovland Romanian culture is also described as a highly masculine with a high degree of gender differentiation. Public relations as a profession has been rapidly developing in post-communist Romania but there is still a general misperception and misunderstanding regarding what public relations means.
The results of the research are a disappointment: men and women are equally credible as organizations spokespersons. And actually higher percentage of men than women believed that women are better in public relations communicator positions. On the other hand a big relief is that 89% of women admired men with athletic bodies.
What do you think would be the results for a research like this in Finland?
Ps. For a more objective interpretation of this research I recommend everybody to read it themselves here.
Vanc, A., & Hovland, R. (2008). Perceived Gender Preference and Physical Attractiveness For Corporate Public Communicators in Romania. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1-34. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.