Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in the Public Relation Industry

When It came to deciding on what exactly I wanted to do and achieve for my final project in culture, race and media, I knew I wanted to focus it around public relations with that being my major, After pondering for a bit I then decided I wanted to find out if there is, and what other people thought about sexism in the industry. Is it an issue I wondered, or is it not a problem that comes up often, I knew the public relation industry is female dominated, but also took not that not many women make it to seniority status in companies.

Prior to taking culture, race and media I never really sat to down to think about any isms in the career path I’m working towards. A lot of times people don’t think about the things that others go through until it affects them personally Since taking this class it’s opened my eyes to the many issues I didn‘t think about on the daily, and has really made me think.

It‘s crazy to think that someone has more opportunities just based solely on their gender, but even crazier to me now that people don’t think that sexism is an issue anymore in the professional world, such as Josh Lewis, a student we interviewed. He stated in the interview that he feels we‘ve moved past sexism in the corporate world and that there are laws set in motion to prevent it from happening, That may be true in some cases but not in all aspects of sexism.

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When it came down to finally deciding what exactly I was going to do for the final project I was stumped. I had ideas, but didn’t have access to the resources I needed nor did I know how I was going to go about filming the presentation aspect of it, Luckily a fellow student, Ariana contacted me saying how she really liked my idea and would like to team up.

She said she had access to rent out the Columbia College Chicago cameras due to her major so it all started to seem feasible at that point. Once her and I started to chat a bit on what we‘d actually like to do and take our presentation aspect of the project, another student, Ellen asked if she could team up with us as well, Everything was starting to fall into place and seeming a lot less stressful to us all. For me, this project would‘ve been different if I hadn’t yet taken culture, race and media just due to the fact that I wasn’t fully educated or aware of all the discrimination that takes place on a daily basis. I’ve known and understand the isms we learned about, but not on such a deep level to where I’ve sat and actually thought about them for more than just a sudden thought passing through my head.

Doing this project before taking this class, I don’t think I would’ve dug as deep as I did to find out if sexism in PR is truly an issue, I researched online and read many different articles where I discovered many different viewpoints on the subject mattert Some women said they’ve never experienced sexism in PR, where others, whom are trying to reach the top, said they’re not taken as seriously for the position because they‘re a woman The issue when it comes to sexism in the PR industry is that it is a female dominated field, but when it comes to senior positions, only men are receiving them. Women aren’t necessarily being taken seriously enough. When women experience sexism in PR, it’s usually amongst male director colleagues. They‘re hiring women based on their appearance rather than qualifications because it looks better to walk into a client’s office with a pretty woman by your side.

With fewer women reaching senior positions, the real unfair deal is in their wage packets. Men in PR are earning fifty percent more than woman on average. Sexism in PR seems to in fact be an issue that’s being brushed under the rug. When it came to filming the presentation aspect of the project, I don’t think that the interview questions I came up with on my end would’ve been the same pre-culture, race and media. What changed for me was after reading various articles online, I was then able to think up some really well thought provoking questions that I think translate to the students responses. Having to come up with provocative questions on the interactive assignments throughout the semester, I think contributed and helped better shape the questions that were asked to the various PR/Marketing students we interviewed. In the end what ultimately changed the outcome of the project for me after taking this class, especially in terms of sexism, is just how unnoticed it can bet Sexism doesn’t necessarily have to be the blatant typical scenario that we might usually be used to or on the lookout for. It can sometimes go ttnnoticed and undetected.

That’s why after taking culture, race and media this semester had me curious and wondering if sexism may be one of those cases where it’s not a huge issue faced in PR, but possibly one that goes unnoticed; that only few experience A peer-reviewed article I found in the final project forum that I feel supports my point of view that there is sexism in PR is one found by you actually The one on, “PR Bunnies Being Caught in the agency ghetto.” In the article it does state how PR is a female dominated industry but that there is discrimination against women in terms of salaries, public relation roles, and hierarchical positions. That was found in a recent descriptive study done in the public relations field in Germany. They also found it depends on organizations. The highest female majority in public relations can be found in public relations agencies (69%), followed by independent public relations consultants (63%), associations (49%), corporations (41%), and government (38%).

The data collected shows how women are being underrepresented Mostly in fields that have the longest tradition of affirmative action, governmental organizations. Also, even in public relations agencies, the type of organization that has the highest female share not only in total, but also in top positions; here 59% of top positions are held by women, but women in comparison to men are still underrepresented in top positions, only 34% of women as opposed to 52% of men are in top positions. Originally we were going to try and contact women working in PR to do the interviews but chose against it and went with interviewing students instead, I’m glad we took the project in the direction we did because we can always research and find out information about the PR industry online, whereas to know what actual students think, isn’t as obtainable online. It was more rewarding in my opinion to interview students who are studying and will be going into the field, to hear their thoughts and opinions on the subject matter.

How different and similar some of the student’s responses were was interesting to me, and the final edit of the Video turned out awesome thanks to Ariana. I think it’ll be exciting once I graduate, and hopefully get a job in the PR industry to see how it is first hand. Will it be all males at the top, or evenly fair having women as well? How will my interview process be? Will I be at an advantage being a male, or will I be at a disadvantage if I’m up against an attractive woman? So many unanswered questions that’ll be exciting to see how it all plays out. Culture, race and media has been a class that’s really made me think at times and has also made me realize how many existing issues there still are that I didn’t necessarily realize were still an issue. Yes, we‘ve come far and are continuing to do so and move forward in terms of sexism, racism, ageism, classism, etc,, but we still have a long way to go and I hope to gradually see some of it play out in my lifetime.

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Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in the Public Relation Industry. (2022, Nov 20). Retrieved from

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