Am I dreaming big enough? Why are there so few female founders in the PRWeek Top150?

Whilst thrilled to be included in this year's PRWeek Top 150 list, a flippant insta post from Matthew Freud in which he joked about winning the annual tallest dwarf competition made me question the value of such an accolade.

I’ve climbed the ladder, stepped outside my comfort zone and drunk Turmeric. What’s next? asks Chloe Franses
I’ve climbed the ladder, stepped outside my comfort zone and drunk Turmeric. What’s next? asks Chloe Franses

I always smile at Matthew’s self-deprecating wit. However, the re-ranking, which put them ahead of Edelman a week after the original announcement [in the Consumer PR table], did lead me to question the stories behind the numbers.

And while being very happy and proud at the inclusion, the article last month highlighting the results of the PRCA’s sexual harassment survey made me look at the list again through a different lens.

What does the Top 150 Consultancies in the UK mean and represent? Because, suddenly, at a glance, it looked like a lot of group-backed agencies and a lot of…well…pale, male and stale leaders. 

So we lifted the bonnet a little - and, through our analysis, it seemed that we were one of only four, independent, women-owned agencies in the list (Liquid, Definition and, probably best known, The Communications Store).

I know that women are no less entrepreneurial than men - certainly no less ambitious in many cases – but the recent government stats around investment would say that they are more likely to be independent than part of a group or owned. 

However, something which has been flagged over and over again is that women are less likely to put themselves forwards, feel that they deserve praise, feel comfortable in public competition - the list goes on.

As we are encouraged to climb ladders, have no limits, step outside comfort zones, dream bigger – hell, drink more Turmeric - I do think that questioning the 'how' and 'why' is of value to women in business.

Chloe Franses, founder of Franses 


The UK VC & Female Founders report; commissioned by Chancellor Philip Hammond at Budget 2017 and launched in March on International Women’s Day, identified specific barriers faced by female-led firms in accessing venture capital.

For example for every £1 of venture capital investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams 10p. 

Anna Jones, from the Allbright, said in an interview with Campaign that she felt we were reaching a moment when people recognised that female founders are an untapped asset; both for the British economy and investors.

I don’t think that investment, becoming part of a group, or considering growing testicles are necessarily a route for everyone - and certainly not in order to get onto a list. 

However, as we are encouraged to climb ladders, have no limits, step outside comfort zones, dream bigger – hell, drink more Turmeric - I do think that questioning the 'how' and 'why' is of value to women in business.

Because if you get too caught up in looking at the 'where’ you could end up shadow boxing - believing you are not good enough, or that there is no point in trying.

It may be an annual, tittering, genitals-on-table exercise for those who have held positions of power for so long - based mainly on which side of ‘Gilead' they were born to -  however, in adding my ovaries to that smorgasbord, I would really like to encourage other women out there to enter into awards and lists such as this. 

Because why not - it’s not just that we are worth it… we have always been worth it - a lot of us just got too busy to fill out the forms.

So thank you, Matthew Freud. 

We will be entering again, hopefully with more of the sisterhood and whilst we may not be competing re height - we will hopefully be in great heels.

Chloe Franses is the founder of social and cultural impact agency Franses 

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