The past 20 years have seen an influx of women into the practice of public relations, yet gender-based disparities in pay and advancement remain a troubling reality. As the field becomes feminized, moreover, female and male practitioners alike confront the prospect of dwindling salaries and prestige. This landmark book presents a comprehensive examination of the status of women in public relations and proposes concrete ways to achieve greater parity in education and practice. The authors integrate the theoretical literature of public relations and gender with results of a major longitudinal study of women in the field, along with illuminating focus group and interview data. Topics covered include factors contributing to sex discrimination; how public relations stacks up against other professions on gender-related issues; the challenges facing female managers and entrepreneurs; the experiences of ethnic minority professionals; the salary gap; the glass ceiling; and how to foster solutions on individual, organizational, and societal levels.
This volume is an essential read for both educators and practitioners in public relations. It can be used as a course text in graduate research seminars, and also as a supplemental text in courses addressing gender issues in PR. It serves as a useful guide for young practitioners entering the profession, and provides critical insights for public relations managers.
"…this book serves a very useful purpose in drawing attention to how women have participated in the field of public relations. Through their in-depth interviews and focus-group studies, the authors have given many individual women a voice in articulating their experiences in this occupation."
—Canadian Journal of Communication
"In addition to covering gender issues, Women in Public Relations includes two excellent chapters on racioethnic and other diversity issues….Anyone, male or female, who values the credibility, professionalism and strategic worth of public relations should absord the lessons of Women in Public Relations and start taking action--before it's too late."
"This book eloquently addresses one of the significant challenges to the public relations industry: namely, whether PR can become a profession where individual talents are perceived independently of gender. No thoughtful discussion of the public relations industry can proceed without examining the feminization of the workforce. Younger practitioners and students preparing to enter the field will find it to be a useful guide in showing them what to expect, be they women or men. Public relations managers also will find the book to be quite helpful in helping them to achieve the more androgynous work style the authors rightly advocate. Relevant, timely, and useful."
Chairman and CEO, Padilla Speer Beardsley Inc.
"An authoritative synthesis of the vast body of knowledge related to gender issues in public relations practice. Summarizing almost two decades of serious scholarly inquiry, the book will undoubtedly instigate much discussion and debate, and will perhaps even lead to structural changes in the industry. It is a 'must read' for educators and practitioners, both female and male. It could also be used as the basis for a graduate research seminar, or as supplemental reading in both undergraduate and graduate courses that address gender issues. This is an outstanding work on a topic that deserves, but seldom receives, scholarly discourse rather than polemic prose."
—Glen M. Broom, Ph.D.
School of Communication, San Diego State University
Contents: K.L. Lewton, Foreword. The Purpose of This Book. Understanding the Issues. Parallels With Women in Diverse Fields. Women in Management and Entrepreneurship. The Promise of Diversity for Public Relations. African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans in U.S. Public Relations. Credibility, Encroachment, Power, and Sublimation. The Gender Gap in Public Relations Salaries. Public Relations Roles. The Glass Ceiling. Explaining Gender Inequality in the Work Place. Liberal Feminist Strategies for Women's Advancement. Feminist Strategies With Radical Intent. Final Thoughts. Appendix: Research Design.