Taa Marbouta mandate calls on men to help address shortage of women PR leaders

PRCA MENA and Global Women in PR MENA co-launched the mandate following the arrival of Taa Marbouta on International Women’s Day 2021.

Following last month’s launch of Taa Marbouta — a unique women-to-women mentorship programme — PRCA MENA and Global Women in PR MENA have called upon men in the PR and communications industry to adopt the Taa Marbouta mandate.

The four-point mandate outlines a commitment from men to play their part in realising the aims of the programme by tackling the career progression challenges faced by women in PR.

The first point states: men will create clearer roadmaps for how women in their companies can reach leadership positions. The second, that men will provide more actionable and tangible feedback to women, answers research published in ScienceDirect showing a disparity in development feedback between men and women. Third, to commit to skills-based and future skills-based interview techniques to remove gender bias when interviewing candidates. And fourth, to proactively connect or encourage female employees to connect with senior women in their field — which can be achieved through Taa Marbouta.

Despite women making up two-thirds of the workforce in the public relations industry, more than half of senior positions and management roles are held by men. Where the Taa Marbouta programme seeks to address this imbalance by connecting aspiring women talent with experienced women leaders in the industry, the newly launched mandate provides an avenue for men to support their women peers towards the same end.

The programme founders outlined during the original launch of Taa Marbouta that solving this pressing gender issue in the industry cannot only be the responsibility of women — the mandate is a clear response to that. Those who adopt the mandate will be encouraged to share their progress towards its aims throughout the year with Taa Marbouta.

“Taa Marbouta exists to address the lack of women mentors in PR that we at GWPR identified as a key driver in helping more women to reach the very top of our industry. While an undeniably important step, men must also have a part to play in achieving this,” said Rachel Dunn, Global Women in PR MENA Board Member. “The mandate provides this by outlining a commitment men can take to help remove the barriers facing women professionals today.”

Hayley Clements, general manager, PRCA MENA, said: “Already we’ve seen a great response to the launch of Taa Marbouta with many passionate women leaders stepping forward to guide their younger peers towards senior roles of their own. We don’t want this momentum to stop, and the launch of the mandate is an important step in getting more of our industry involved in opening paths to progression for the next generation of women talent.”

The Taa Marbouta mandate launch coincides with the completion of the first stage of pairings between 14 mentors and 14 mentees as part of the programme. Applications to be a Taa Marbouta mentor or mentee will reopen in September 2021 and interested professionals can sign up on the PRCA MENA website: prca.mena.global/taa-marbouta.

David Fox, Chief Executive of Memac Ogilvy MENA — the programme’s founding partner and communications agency — added: “The Taa Marbouta programme is an influential step in unlocking opportunities for women to progress in their careers, but it places all the emphasis in the hands of women, being those who will step forward as mentors. Yet men have an important responsibility here also, and the mandate is a response to that. I encourage my male peers in the industry to join me in committing to uphold the pillars of the mandate.”

Those that do adopt the mandate can make their commitment known by emailing [email protected]. Together, PRCA MENA, GWPR MENA, Memac Ogilvy, and all senior industry men that commit will be making an important statement to the entire industry.