Message from the IPRA President: Female empowerment March 2023


Hello, PR enthusiasts from all over the world.

In 2015 at their 70th anniversary, the UN resolved “between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.”


In order to reach this vision, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets were announced, coming into effect on 1st January 2016. This was seven years ago. We are now halfway to 2030. Have we done enough?


Reaching the UN gender equality goal

As International Women’s Day #IWD on 8th March approaches, let’s take a closer look at SDG5 gender equality and the current situation of women. Women after all are one half of humanity in the world, in the workforce and in the public relations sector.


The Global Gender Gap Index 2022 (here) ranks Iceland, Finland and Norway highest and Congo, Pakistan and Afghanistan lowest. World Economic Forum managing director Saadia Zahidi made an interesting conclusion. “In 2022, the global gender gap has been closed by 68.1%. At the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity.”


The latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org, (here) warns: “If companies don’t take action, they risk losing not only their current women leaders but also the next generation of women leaders. Young women are even more ambitious and place a higher premium on working in an equitable, supportive, and inclusive workplace. They’re watching senior women leave for better opportunities, and they’re prepared to do the same.”


The fourth edition of the GWPR Annual Index (here) makes it clear “that progress towards equality continues to be extremely slow. Despite the global PR industry being two-thirds female, the boardroom tells a different story, with men still occupying the majority of seats at the table.”


Ask yourself some searching questions

Let’s think how we, as communicators, can contribute to SDG5 gender equality. It starts with oneself. In the light of the five sustainability pillars of People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership try answering the following questions. Who am I in my core? What defines me? What is my purpose? How do I treat people? What is my why? How do I want to be remembered? What do I do in my everyday life to support the vulnerable? What do I do to ensure the future is better than the past? Am I living in the present? Do I reach out to seek advice and support?


Take your time with these questions. This isn’t an easy task. It requires deep knowledge of your sense of being, your mind and body, and your place in the world. Believe in yourself. And seek the support of mentors who believe in you.


I invite you to share your thoughts with us using the comments section below. Let us know how you’ll celebrate women around the world on 8th March 2023. We, for example here at INEOS in Cologne, introduced Lean In Circles (here), acknowledging that “there’s power in women coming together”.


My best regards,



Anne-Gret Iturriaga Abarzua PhD

President 2023



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