Author(s)

Nancy Long

Date Approved

9-1-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Public Relations

Department

Public Relations/Advertising

College

College of Communication & Creative Arts

First Advisor

FitzGerald, Suzanne

Subject(s)

Public relations personnel;Men

Disciplines

Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

It has been 25 years since the publication of The Velvet Ghetto, the seminal work on gender in public relations. Looking ahead, the study forecast a field that was "ghettoized" as the workforce became increasingly female. Has that been the case? Since the mid-eighties, women have solidified their hold at nearly all levels in the public relations industry. While the advancement of women is to be applauded, is this imbalance a good thing? The industry, to date, has ignored this trend. What strategies should be employed to make the field more diverse and balanced from a gender perspective? Now that PR is comprised of more than 80% women, and nearly 9 in 10 PR students are women, how does this affect salary, status, and scope? This research surveyed students, and interviewed students, agency presidents, and thought leaders in the field to answer these questions. Research found that the status of PR is high. While salaries are low at the entry level, they quickly rise to be competitive with many fields. However, gender imbalance is an issue that must be confronted. While in some ways we are in a "post-gender" era, failure to confront gender diversity - much like racial and ethnic diversity - is a failure in the higher education system, in the workplace, and among professional associations. On balance, students, senior management, and public relations thought leaders agree that it is time to confront this uncomfortable truth about the field and engage in proactive efforts to recruit men into public relations.

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