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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

3 Women in public relations: A feminist perspective

From the book Public Relations

  • Elizabeth L. Toth and Linda Aldoory


Studies of women in public relations form a substantial body of knowledge today. Between 2005 and 2015, 70 gender-based academic and trade articles were published in public relations and strategic communication journals/trade journals. We consider gender to be an indelible influence on the shape of the public relations field and on public relations scholarship. We also believe that public relations as a communication function of organizations has a responsibility, and the women who make up the vast majority of public relations practitioners likewise, to be the ethical organizational voice that informs and contributes to the public interest. By addressing women’s issues in public relations in this chapter, we hope to advance what public relations can accomplish within organizational settings and the greater societies in which organizational public relations operates. This chapter describes the historical beginnings of the research agenda on women and public relations and how this research developed. First, we define key terms, such as gender and feminism. Then, we address the critiques and challenges to feminist theory, including how feminist theory compares and contrasts with other public relations theoretical perspectives. Finally, we summarize how feminist theories of public relations might further evolve.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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