Barriers to PR women’s leadership advancement: Current situation and anticipated changes

Paper accepted to present at the 71st Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, May 27-31, 2021.

Abstract: This study examines current critical situational issues and barriers that are likely to influence women’s leadership advancement along their career paths in public relations. A national online survey of female professionals in public relations was designed and conducted in the United States. Results confirmed the top three situational barriers to PR women’s advancement include workplace structures, double standards in domestic roles and professional standards, and social attitudes towards female professionals. Findings also revealed such a gender underrepresentation in top leadership might be caused by lack of sufficient female role models, lack of work-family balance, and stereotypes in clustering more women in staff functions than line functions. However, women in PR anticipated to see improvements in various areas in the near future.

Juan Meng 

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