The ‘Not Just a Girls Job’ is a campaign brought to you by EPAA UK, which aims to challenge common assumptions and perceptions of the EA/PA being a career just for women.
Recent statistics used by the ONS for the Business Support Profession have placed the gender split as high as 94% female to 6% male for the UK!
There are very few professions in the UK which operate under a similar percentage and have this ratio of women to men.
At EPAA, we believe a better gender ratio will make for an enriched profession and our mission is simple – we want to inspire boys and men to consider the profession as a credible career choice and remove some of the stereotypes associated with the roles under the business support professional umbrella.
We hope to see the split decrease over time via our campaign, using a range of awareness raising initiatives, in addition to educating the world of work at large on why this is a gender-neutral role. There are considerable issues with the way EA/PA role advertisements are written, often with words and lingo that is feminised and meant to attract women only.
In addition to this, we see many events across the profession, which clearly are promoted to women only and therefore prohibiting the attendance of male Executive and Personal Assistants.
Above are just some of the issues facing the profession and EPAA is and will continue to challenge this and any other stereotyping associated with Business Support Professionals.
It is a campaign that has to be in it for the long run and much work will have to be done, in order to ensure the profession is more welcoming of both genders.
As part of our ‘Not Just a Girl’s Job’ Campaign, in 2017 we conducted a survey on the issue of gender stereotypes within the Business Support Profession, and received more than 50 responses from male Executive and Personal Assistants from across Europe, North America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Whilst this is very much a UK campaign, we gave international Business Support Professionals the opportunity to take part in this area of the campaign and to gain their vital feedback.
The results of EPAA’s survey revealed that 42% of participants had experienced negative comments from colleagues based on inaccurate and outdated gender stereotypes.
The issues raised by survey participants ranged from colleagues questioning their ability to perform the role to a satisfactory standard because of their gender, to people making assumptions about their sexuality because of the outdated cultural stereotype of the EA/PA role being a female career choice.
We hope to inspire boys and men to see the profession as a credible career choice and remove the stereotypes associated with the roles under the Business Support Professional umbrella.
Unfortunately, some of these issues appear to be deeply engrained in the business cultures, as one of our survey participants highlighted: “(One) agency refused to meet as I was not ‘a girl’. (For) other roles I have been told they want ‘a pretty face’…”
Back in April 2017, we interviewed a number of Business Support Professionals and heard their views on men in the roles associated with our profession.
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