PR industry sets an example for gender equality & inclusivity: Manisha Chaudhary
The Founder and Director of Value 360 Communications, Chaudhary urges women to map their own path and believe in their journey
Starting off extremely young in her career, Manisha Chaudhary is the proud Founder-Director of the most awarded public relations firm in India, Value 360 Communications. After her tryst with journalism at one of India’s leading publishing house Hindustan Times, Chaudhary has carved a niche for herself in the world of public relations. Since then, she has been leading media relations for key clients and spearheading the client-servicing division at Value 360 Communications.
She drives the PR operations with a single-minded focus and dedication. She sincerely believes in employee retention being vital to the company’s growth.
In today’s edition of our Women’s Achiever’s series, we speak to Chaudhary for her views on female leadership in the PR industry, gender disparity, pay gaps, methods to keep women motivated at the workplace and more.
How has your journey in the PR industry been? Being a woman, how has the industry treated you?
I started my entrepreneurial journey very early in my career. I was just 21 when I started my first venture. In these 17 years of my professional journey,I have seen the world of communication evolving from a monologue to a dialogue format where communication is no more unidirectional. Brands are looking at creating and being a part of consumer conversations. I have been a constant learner throughout with this ever-evolving industry.
PR industry sets a great example for other sectors to follow gender equality and inclusivity. Being a woman I was never treated differently or never became a victim of gender biases. I might have been questioned for my ability to handle things when I was in my early 20s but never for my gender.
How inclusive is the PR industry?
PR is a female-dominated industry. There are a lot of women in the mid-leadership level and a decent share of female leaders at the top. However, we should always aim for a better share, and I believe it won’t be too much for me to expect more number of female leaders to emerge in the next few years.
Have you ever experienced gender bias in the industry? If yes, why was it so? Any anecdote that you would want to share.
Personally, I have never encountered any kind of gender bias while working in the industry. I have been treated equally in both my personal and professional life. I have been given equal opportunities as compared to any of my male counterparts.
However, a very few (clients) have this mindset where they prefer working with a certain gender due to their supposed interest level and understanding of a specific sector. For example, the belief is that a female account manager will be able to manage fashion and lifestyle accounts better and male account manager would be able to manage auto or technology clients better. However, at Value 360, we continue to break this mindset by assigning gender-neutral teams for such accounts.
Is there a pay gap in the industry? If yes, why is it so?
I really do not feel that there is a pay gap in the industry. I personally have not encountered any gap in terms of the pay scale with my male counterparts. The PR industry is basically a talent-driven industry. At Value 360 Communications, we follow similar criteria to pay our employees.
How do you keep women motivated at your workplace?
At Value 360 Communications, we believe in gender equality. For us, both male and female employees are equal as they have been hired on their talent, knowledge and experience of the industry. But, on the personal front, I ensure flexible work timings for working mothers, the safety of women employees, and empathy for all our staff.
What are the major challenges for a woman entrepreneur in this day and age?
We have come a long way from the time when a woman entrepreneur was celebrated as a different species. Today she has secured a place for herself in the industry for the business she has built and not as a token for being a woman. With this change in mindset, I see more opportunities than challenges for women entrepreneurs today. With the advent of technology, I see the emergence of women micro-entrepreneurs who are converting their passion for knitting, cooking, baking or fitness as their full-time business venture. I hope to see the new Paytms and Olas being created by some of our fellow women entrepreneurs.
What is the message that you would want to give other women out there?
To women I would say it's important to map your own path, take one step at a time, believe in your journey, choose a mentor to guide you through your journey, follow your own pace and most importantly, take a well-deserved break to reward yourself from time to time.
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