Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Equal opportunities
 Methodology and analysis
 Analysis of attitudes and feelings...
 Appendix A: Cover letter and...
 Appendix B: Quotations from women...
 Biographical sketch
 Signature page

Group Title: Role of women in public relations
Title: The role of women in public relations
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025917/00001
 Material Information
Title: The role of women in public relations
Physical Description: vi, 74 leaves : ill. ; 28cm.
Language: English
Creator: Farber, Lynne Sherry, 1952-
Publication Date: 1975
Subject: Public relations   ( lcsh )
Businesswomen   ( lcsh )
Journalism and Communications thesis M.A.J.C
Dissertations, Academic -- Journalism and Communications -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis (M. A. in J. and Com.)--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 63-64.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lynne S. Farber.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025917
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000167392
oclc - 02855145
notis - AAT3782

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Equal opportunities
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Introduction of the topic
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
        History of women in public relations
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
        Overview of women workers in general
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
        Past studies of women in public relations
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
    Methodology and analysis
        Page 30
            Page 30
            Page 31
        Analysis of statistical data
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
    Analysis of attitudes and feelings of women in public relations
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Appendix A: Cover letter and questionnaire
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    Appendix B: Quotations from women surveyed
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Biographical sketch
        Page 74
    Signature page
        Page 75
Full Text







I would like to extend my deepest gratitude and

endless thanks to the Foundation for Public Relations Re-

search and Education. This organization underwrote the

costs for all original research conducted for the thesis

with a most generous grant. A special thank-you to Mr.

Frederick H. Teahan, executive secretary, for taking the

time and trouble to present my project proposal to the

proper committee.

Professor Glenn Butler, my chairman and friend,

gave time whenhe had none and tireless help when it was

most needed. Had he not been so willing, I might have

given up the project. Also instrumental in the comple-

tion of the research endeavor was Professor William

Purkey, whose kind words of praise made each task easier.

He bolstered my confidence and offered his incredible


It is hard to thank all the friends and neighbors

who helped with the little but important things, like

stamping envelopes. Glen Daigre was available from be-

ginning to end with his time and advice, and he helped rid

me of my terror.

Finally, without the help of those closest to me,

my parents and Philip Gouze, I never would have been able

to complete this. My parents were willing to lend their

financial and emotional support. Phil had the patience

to edit, read, and reread each chapter and to provide

the honest criticism necessary to get the best results.

He was also the cushion I needed to fall back on when

things got too hectic. It's great to be finished!





Introduction of the Topic, 3. History of Women in
Public Relations, 6. Overview of Women Workers in
General, 13. Past Studies of Women in Public Rela-
tions, 16. Discrimination, 21. Salary, 23.


Methodology, 30. Procedure, 31. Analysis of Sta-
tistical Data, 32.










June 1975

CHAIRMAN: Professor Glenn Butler
MAJOR DEPARTMENT: Journalism and Communications

This work is the result of an analysis of informa-

tion relating to female public-relations practitioners in

the United States. It includes a historical study of a

woman's place in the public-relations field by means of

reviewing the literature dealing with this subject. Spe-

cific aspects covered include discrimination, salary, and

changing attitudes toward women in public relations. Addi-

tionally, the careers of several leading women in public

relations are noted; two recent studies of female public-

relations practitioners are reviewed, and women in the

work force in general are discussed.

The original research for this thesis consists of

a nation-wide survey of 265 female public-relations prac-

titioners. This survey was based upon a random sample

drawn from the Public Relations Society of America Register.

Each woman received a questionnaire designed to explore

not only her job status but her feelings about her career.

Data are analyzed in two parts. First, factual

data such as job position, salary, age, and educational

background are presented. Secondly, questions regarding

the feelings of these women toward their profession are

discussed. This section covers feelings of discrimination,

participation in policy decisions, and career satisfaction.

Finally, a summary and conclusion complete this study on

the role of women in public relations.

Glenn Butler, Chairman

Equal Opportunities, BUT .

If she's young, she's inexperienced and probably flighty.
If he's young, he's full of new ideas and ambition to get
If she's single, her mind will be on dating.
If he's single, he'll be working overtime to earn enough
to marry.
If she's married, she'll probably get pregnant and quit.
All right, score one for the man.
If she's past the dating, marriage, and babies' stage,
she's probably too set and rigid in her thinking.
If he's in his forties, he's just at his prime and in great
If she's attractive, she'll distract the men in the office.
If he's attractive, it will be easier to hire secretaries.
If she asserts her authority, it's a sign of emotional
If he shouts and pounds the desk, he's just demonstrating
a no-nonsense policy.
If she's fat, or too thin, she's in poor health, which
indicates a poor attendance record.
If he's fat, he's added a few pounds since football;
if he's thin, he keeps trim with tennis. At any
rate, he's male-ergo hale.

--Rea W. Smith, 1968



Chapter One begins with a brief introduction to

this paper, delving into the reasons for conducting such

research at this time. The introduction is followed by a

complete search of the literature for any information on

the role of women in public relations.

Chapter Two includes a report on the methodology

used to accomplish the survey objectives. It is a complete

description of all procedures (a copy of the questionnaire

used is contained in Appendix A). The bulk of Chapter Two

deals with the actual survey results. Data are evaluated

and discussed in terms of percentages, averages, and analy-

ses of the factual data.

Chapter Three covers the attitudes and personal

comments of the respondents. This has been separated from

raw statistical analysis. Actual feelings of the women,

as observed from their personal notes and answers to cer-

tain questions, are discussed.

Chapter Four draws conclusions based on the litera-

ture search in combination with survey results. An overall

picture of women in public relations is presented. Included

are suggestions for further research.

Introduction of the Topic

This study sought information on the role of women

in public relations because there is little information

available on the subject. The objective was to find out

what types of women are in the profession by analyzing

their educational backgrounds, training, and prior experi-

ence. How much money are these women making? Do they feel

discriminated against because they are female?

This study is an attempt to discover not only hard

facts about women in the public-relations profession, but

to discover their feelings about their roles and careers

as well. Recent years have seen many changes in women's

role in our society. The women's liberation movement has

gotten the nation's attention. Growing numbers of women

no longer expect to receive less pay than their male counter-

parts for performing the same job simply because they are


Women are no longer expected by society to sacri-

fice careers by remaining in the home. Legislation such

as the Equal Pay Under Fair Labor Standards Act (1970)

has been promulgated in response to the women's liberation

The proposed equal-rights amendment (ERA) has

fought a long, hard battle that appears to be nearing a

dramatic and victorious conclusion. All of this has led

to' a number of studies on women's role in society. Many

careers not formerly open to women are now available to

them. Yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive re-

search conducted on the female public-relations practitioner.

As a matter of fact, little has ever been written about

women in public relations.

It is interesting and even comical to note the

change in the few writings available on this subject. A

1950 public-relations handbook makes a whimsical analogy

to the old maxim that "a woman's place is in the home."

The author states that a woman's role in public relations

is limited to keeping track of the soap-and-broom supply
in a business. More recently, a 1968 survey takes a

serious but cursory look at women in public relations.

Both of these writings will be discussed in depth later

in Chapter One.

U.S. Department of Labor, Equal Pay Under Fair Labor
Standards Act, Publication 1179, August 1970.
2Millard E. Faught, "Community Relations," in Philip Lesly,
ed., Public Relations Handbook (New York: Prentice Hall, 1950), p. 156.

The basic purpose of this thesis was to combine

the available works on the subject with a current (1975),

comprehensive national survey of female public-relations


There is a myth about the field of journalism

that circulates among high-school and college coeds. The

myth is that journalism is an especially good field for

young ladies to enter--next to teaching, of course. But

when mothers tell this to their daughters, they very often

include a comment about free-lance writing that their

daughters may do in their spare time as "homemakers."

This is not a journalism career.

Hopefully, this thesis provides a much more real-

istic picture of at least one journalism career: public

relations. It is written with the basic hypothesis that

public relations offers a female the same opportunities

and hardships that just about any career would offer her.

Hard work, persistence, and caring enough to do the best

job possible are the keys to success, not a person's sex.

After reading this study, any young woman con-

sidering a career in public relations would have more to

base her decision on than myth. Here are the facts,

directly from those who know the situation best: women

in public relations in 1975.

History of Women in Public Relations

According to the United States Department of

Labor, nearly one fourth of the public-relations prac-

titioners in the United States are women. The rate of

increase in their numbers over the past few years has
been large. It is therefore logical to take a close

look at this group of professionals. Although public

relations is not a new field for women, it is only recently

that any research has been conducted concerning them.

It is interesting to note the change in attitude

toward women in literature, especially in public relations.

Most books written on the subject between 1920 and 1940 do

not mention the female practitioner. Those works that do

mention women do so in an insignificant manner.

A 1920 United States Census report showed 5,730

women out of 34,197 editors and reporters. This repre-

sented just over 16%. By 1930 the figures had risen to

11,924 out of 55,844, or 23%. This does not specify

public relations, but it does show an increased.trend

toward journalism careers for women.

Barbara Ireton, "The Female Practitioner Talks About Her
Status, Public Relations Journal, vol. 23, no. 9 (September 1967),
pp. 14-15.
Iona Robertson Logie, Careers for Women in Journalism
(Pennsylvania: International Textbook Company, 1938), p. 7.

The areas of advertising and publicity are often

given as those that may be open to women. Positions in

advertising agencies, department stores, miscellaneous

retail businesses, and broadcasting stations are listed

as excellent areas for female employment.

Iona Robertson Logie compiled many charts and

statistics on a study of the occupational status of 881

women in magazine work. Over 10% (10.8%) of the women

studied stated that they started their careers with a job

in the area of promotion, advertising, or publicity.

In 1950 Philip Lesley's Public Relations Handbook

mentions women in two places. The first is in the community-

relations chapter by Millard E. Faught. Faught discusses

the role of women as guides in the tour of an industrial

plant. He states: "Engineers sometimes make poor guides

because they get too technical in their explanations.

Secretaries and women production workers, on the other

hand, make good 'hostesses' for women visitors because

they will think of interesting angles like how many tons

of soap and how many brooms are used just to do the com-

pany 'housekeeping.'" Such a description, considered in

light of today's women's liberation movement and in view

5 p. 5. Fought, p. 156.
Ibid., p. 5. Faught, p. 156.

of the many changes that have taken place in the woman's

role in society, seems ridiculous.

Women are also discussed in Herbert M. Baus's
chapter "How to Get Publicity." Here again, a true

assessment of women in public relations is not presented.

Baus says of women's groups: "To ignore the importance

of women's clubs and their tremendous influence in swaying

public sentiment is sheer folly. Some industries have

done a good job with this biggest pressure (i.e., food,
airlines)." Here, women are dealt with as a special

type of problem. The capabilities of women are overlooked.

Scott Cutlip and Allen Center, in their book Effec-

tive Public Relations (1952), offer some encouragement to
women. They state the following in a section entitled

"A Word to the Ladies": "There is every reason to believe

that public relations offers as much career opportunity to

women as to men. Men hold no monopoly in the powers of

persuasion. The public relations function has that in

common with its relatives, advertising and journalism. In

some areas, such as social welfare and the fashion industry,

women generally get the nod over men for jobs."10

Herbert N. Baus in Lesly, p. 583. Ibid.

Scott Cutlip and Allen Center, Effective Public Relations
(New York: Prentice Hall, 1956), p. 467.

Increasing numbers of women have been particularly

successful in public relations for retail and wholesale

establishments, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, the fashion

industry,and community organizations. Others are employed

by consulting firms and advertising agencies.

The Bureau of the Census counted 2,000 women in

public relations in 1950. By 1960 there were 7,271 women
in the field, or an increase of 263.6%. One reason for

this ready acceptance of women is that public relations is

considered a highly intuitive business. Intuition being

considered a female trait, women have a special contribu-

tion to make in the field. "On the average, women are more

sensitive to the environment and seek solutions in nonvio-
,,l 3
lent ways."

"In some organizations and in the solution of some

public relations problems, a trained and experienced woman
1 4
might have more to offer than a man."14 Given the same

experience and personal attributes, a woman can do an

equally good job and is entitled to the same rank and pay

as her male counterpart.

U.S. Department of Labor, Why Not Be a Public Relations
Worker? (Washington, D.C.: USGPO, 1970).
U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administra-
tion, Woman's Bureau, Twenty Facts on Women Workers, Washington, D.C.
3Virginia Gibbs Weber and Walter W. Seifert, "National Sur-
vey Explores Role of Women in Public Relations," Public Relations
Journal, vol. 22, no. 8 (July 1966), p. 33.
Glenn and Danny Griswold, Your Public Relations (New York:
Funk and Wagnalls Co., 1948), p. 59.

In 1964 Charles Boland, author of Careers and Op-

portunities in Advertising, felt women's abilities were

being acknowledged.5 "Recognition, however, along with

title, prestige, and bigger salaries have not been quickly

Restrictions have loosened, though, and there is

a gallery of famous women. Another factor that opened

doors for women was the "success of many husband-and-wife

teams in the days when the public-relations profession
,,1 7
was still developing." These wives had an opportunity

to demonstrate that women can assume and fulfill public-

relations responsibilities.

Most of the leading women in public relations have

also had successful marriages and raised families. "The

very quality that makes them good public-relations women--

a basic understanding of people and of relative values--

makes it possible for them to recognize the needs of their

families as well as the needs of their careers and to cope

effectively with both."18

Women have worked hard, have fought prejudice, and

have succeeded in-the public-relations field. The first

all-female counseling firm--Flaney and Woodward, Inc.--was

Charles Boland, Careers and Opportunities in Advertising
(New York: Dutton and Co., 1964), p. 172.
16bid. 17Smith, p. 29. 18bid.
Ibid. Smith, p. 29. Ibid.

established in 1944. The Committee of Women Public Rela-

tions was formed in 1946 to further the effectiveness of

women in the profession. Formed by five charter members,

by 1968 it had grown to fifty-five members, all of whom

hold executive posts in their field.

In counseling one need only mention Anna Rosenberg

to show that a woman can do well if she has the ability

and desire. Also in counseling are many successful

husband-and-wife teams such as Edward and Doris (Fleishman)

Bernays, Dana and Edith Bennett, Robert and Mary (Sammons)
Newcomb, and Clem and Leone (Baxter) Whitaker.

Some other outstanding women in the field include

Bernice Fitzgibbon, creator of many famous slogans for

both Macy's and Gimbel's; Margaret Divver, advertising

manager for John Hancock Insurance Company in the 1950s; and

Frances Corey, vice president for sales promotion, adver-

tising, and public relations for a swimsuit company.

Another famous woman is Nancy Webb from the firm

of Ketchum, MacLeod, and Grove, a Pittsburgh-based agency.

Ms. Webb suggests the best way for a woman to get ahead

is to act like a lady--to work with the men and respect
them rather than compete with them. >

19Cutlip and Center, p.408.
Cutlip and Center, p. 408.

20Boland, p. 172.
Boland, p. 172.

She comments on the situation of few-'woman vice-

presidents of public-relations firms by saying "I am of

the opinion that this condition will 'never change to any

great extent. In the first place, most women spend ten

to twenty years either out of the business entirely or
21 .
doing part-time work." .She refers to this as the

"working-wife syndrome."

Ms. Webb offers a basis for her thinking on the

"trap" that women create. "The fact remains," she says,

"that a man will devote all his working years to a job.
2 2
Most women won't."

Nancy Webb began her own career as a salesperson.

Later on she wrote copy and did ad layouts as well as less

creative tasks such as collecting bills.

Although things have changed since Ms. Webb's

time, her comments are still relevant. If not exact in

describing the conditions of 1975, they at least paint a

picture of what conditions were thirty years ago and they

certainly provide a yardstick to measure change.

She goes on to say "I do not know of a single

agency which has a training program that includes girls.

The secretarial pool is the nearest thing to that and it

is light years away."23
is light years away.

21 Ibid., p. 170.

23Ibid., p. 179.


Ms. Webb offers six recommendations geared to help

women toward a successful career: (1) college courses

geared to advertising; (2) more higher education in

business and the like; (3) training programs that include

girls with proper qualifications; (4) use of women outside

the fashion, food, and cosmetic fields; (5) more account-

service opportunities for trained women; and (6) more
advancement regardless of sex.

Overview of Women Workers in General

Closely related to the topic of women in public

relations is the more general area of women in the labor

force. Since women in the public-relations profession

are included in this larger group, a look at the following

twenty facts put out by the United States Department of

Labor is warranted.

1. Nine out of ten girls will work at some
time in their lives.

2. Most women work because of economic
need. Two thirds of all women workers
are single, divorced, widowed, or sepa-
rated or have husbands whose earnings
are less than $7,000 per year.



3. About thirty-two million women are in
the labor force (38% of all workers).
Minority women in the labor force num-
ber forty-one million (44% of all
minority workers).

4. Half of all women eighteen to sixty-
four years of age are workers.

5. About one fourth of employed women
hold part-time jobs.

6. Women accounted for three fifths of the
increase in the civilian work force in
the last decade.

7. Labor-force participation is highest
among women eighteen to twenty-four
and thirty-five to fifty-four years of
age; the median age of women workers
is thirty-nine years.

8. The more education a woman has, the
greater the likelihood she will seek
paid employment. Nearly seven out of
ten women forty-five to fifty-four
years of age with four years of college
are in the work force.

9. The number of working mothers (with
children under eighteen) has increased
eightfold since 1940. (12.2 million:
an increase of 3.5 million in the last

10. The 4.6 million working mothers with
children under six in 1970 had 5.8
million children under six; the esti-
mated number of licensed day-care slots
is 774,000.

11. Women workers are concentrated in low-
paying, dead-end jobs. As a result
the average woman worker earns about
three fifths of what a man does, even
.when both work full time, year round.

12. Unemployment was lowest for white adult
males and highest for minority teen-age
girls in 1971. White adult females had
the second highest employment rate, and
minority adult females had the fourth
highest employment rate.

13. About one out of nine families is headed
by a woman; almost two out of five poor
families are headed by a woman.

14. It is frequently the wife's earnings which
raise a family out of poverty. In husband-
wife families, 14% are poor if the wife
does not work; 4% are poor even if she does

15. Of workers not covered by the Fair Labor
Standards Act, 45% are women.

16. The average woman worker is as well educated
as the average man worker. Women have com-
pleted 12.5 years and men 12.4 years of

17. Women are 39% of all professional and tech-
nical workers but only 17% of all nonfarm
managers, officials, and proprietors.

18. Women are 75% of all clerical workers but
only 4% of all craftsmen and foremen.

19. The median wage of full-time, year-round
private household workers was $2,100 in
1970. Private household workers are pro-
tected by minimum wage in only four states.
They are protected by virtually no other

20. Fully employed women high-school graduates
have less income on the average than fully
employed males with less than eight-years

These facts summarize the current situation of the

female worker in the United States. They can be compared

to facts that will be discussed later regarding the female

U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration.

public-relations practitioner. She can see how she com-

pares with women in other fields.

Past Studies of Women in Public Relations

In 1966 a survey was taken at Ohio State Univer-

sity to determine the status of women in public relations.2

The following information, until otherwise noted, refers

to this same study.

Questionnaires were sent to 360 women listed as

members of the Public Relations Society of America. One

hundred and forty-nine women responded. While this is

not a statistically-accurate sample, it merits discussion

since much can be learned from the results.

First of all, 37% of the respondents listed their

present position as "counselor." Of these, 63% owned or

were partners in their firms.

Their clients included financial corporations,

industry, unions, local, state and federal governments,

hospitals, politicians, oil drillers, breweries, and

houseware and fashion firms. Yet less than one third

indicated that their work was concentrated in areas

traditionally defined as "women's areas."

Weber and Seifert, p. 33.

Of those doing "inside" public relations (for

their own company), 16% were in nonprofit fields, 13% in

business, and 12% in associations. Of seventeen women

working for business firms, only six were in areas that

might be considered naturals for women.

The backgrounds of the women did not vary greatly.

Sixty percent of all respondents had worked on newspapers

before going into the public-relations field. Twenty

percent came from the radio field, 13% from television;

37% had done editing work and a mere 6% came from maga-

zine work. An overwhelming majority of 92% had attended

college with 70% of these majoring in either journalism

or English. Two thirds of the 92% who had attended

college held bachelor's degrees while 16% held master's


Most women believed the need for a college back-

ground was vital and recommended emphasis in journalism,

public relations, or communications. They also emphasized

the necessity of a broad educational background; such

areas as sociology, economics, and business were recom-

mended. They commented on the importance of enjoying

contact with people and of meeting a constantly changing

variety of work.

Eighty percent of the women said they participate

in policy decisions of their organization. The overwhelm-

ing majority thought that being female did not limit one's

performance in the public-relations field. A typical

comment was "Generally my experience is that once you've

reached the level where your opinions and judgments are

respected, it doesn't make a great deal if difference

[if you are a woman]."

Most of the women questioned believed that being

female is either "immaterial" or an "asset" in public

relations. "There were certain reservations such as re-

ceiving lowersalaries than men and discrimination in hir-

ing. They believed they must work harder than men to win

acceptance. Barriers seem to be removed when this is

accomplished, however."27

The survey also showed that women in public rela-

tions have the same enthusiasm for the profession that

their male colleagues have, for 78% said they would choose

the profession again.

Another survey was taken in 1967 in the Washington,
D.C., area. The following information, until otherwise

noted, refers to this survey. Twenty-five key female

public-relations practitioners were surveyed. The results

have compared closely with remarks of women careerists in

other cities.

27Ibid., p. 34. 28 reton, p. 14.

"Discrimination because of sex was the subject of

greatest concern. All the women testified to experiencing

it in one form or another on the job, and many considered
it a fact of life." Salary and promotion differences

were a frequent source of difficulty among the women.

Those women interviewed adopted a positive approach

to the problem. "Women are only as handicapped as they

permit themselves to be or as they permit others to handi-
,,3 o
cap them."3

These women felt that maintaining feminity was a

good way to combat discrimination. Aggression teamed with

a ladylike approach is important. One woman said "I think

women create the number-one disadvantage when they try to

think and work in the male manner."31

Many of these female practitioners regarded their

sex as a definite advantage in public relations. Women

are attributed with being sensitive to people and sensitive

in how they react. "They are by nature gracious, considerate,

and have an instinctive feeling for detail and a human capa-
city for dealing with people." This is certainly a large

generalization, but these are the right qualities for the

public-relations field.

29Ibid. 30 Ibid. 31Ibid. 32Ibid., 15.
Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 15.


Most of the women had advice to offer to newcomers

to the profession. They suggest learning to type and to

appreciate the importance of basic office skills. Have a

well-rounded background but concentrate on journalism,

sociology, psychology, economics, humanities, public speak-

ing, and the arts.

These public-relations practitioners also said that

it is essential for a woman to realize she must do a better

job to get ahead and that she will be doing it for less

money than her male counterpart.

A woman interested in public relations as a career

should have an ability to express herself well. She must

be able to shift points of view and understand people.

Recognizing the value in volunteer work is impor-

tant, for it is an opportunity to learn and to progress.

It helps the novice make invaluable contacts and to get

herself known. Many female practitioners started with

menial jobs, but through volunteer work, became known

and rewarded for their abilities.

"Never complain about anything you have to do that

teaches you something you never knew before You can't

administer until you have learned," one woman said.3

Once a woman is accepted in the field, she can look forward

33 d.

to receiving a considerably higher salary than one re-

ceives in most popular women's fields such as teaching.

More advice for success in public relations is

given by Rea W. Smith in an article written for Business
World in 1974.3 She says "The first requisite is a full

working knowledge of English composition and journalistic

writing; second is an understanding of the methods and

techniques of communications; third is an investigative,

curious mind that knows how to research for background

data ; a basic knowledge of psychology and the

social sciences is equally essential. Many colleges and

universities have excellent public-relations courses that

include all these elements within the communications dis-



In the aforementioned article, Ms. Smith also dis-

cusses the problem of discrimination against women in the

public-relations profession.

Rea W. Smith, "Public Relations, a Growing Field,"
Business World, Spring 1974, p. 8.
35 d., p. 8.
Ibid., p. 8.

Another attractive advantage of the public-
relations field is that it needs and welcomes
all kinds of people. While it would be in-
accurate to say there are no vestiges of
prejudice against women, what prejudice re-
mains is symptomatic of society at large.
SHistorically there has been less discrimina-
Stion against women in public relations than
in many other fields. Women have been rising
to the top rungs in public relations ever
since the mid-1940s and not necessarily in
such activities as fashion publicity or public
relations for household commodities. Lee
Jaffe was head of public relations for the
Port of New York Authority for twenty-five
years. The current head of public rela-
tions for Rockefeller Center in New York is
a woman, and her predecessor who retired early
this year (1974) after twenty years in the
position was also a woman. In addition, there
are hundreds of women who own their own coun-
seling firms.36

But the picture is not as bright as it may seem.

For there is discrimination against women in the public-

relations profession. It is present in many areas. A

few examples of prejudice shown to women include the

National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In 1963 this

all-male organization seated visiting women reporters in ,-

the balcony when foreign dignitaries spoke. And the

Columbia School of Journalism accepted only a limited

number of women applicants because they believed the women

would have trouble finding jobs.

Ibid., p. 9.

37Weber and Seifert, p. 34.
Weber and Seifert, p. 34.

Bernard Kilgore, publisher of the Wall Street Jour-

nal, once said "Our managing editor has a prejudice against

women. Women don't make a career of it. They don't stay

too long, and we are desperately anxious to develop sub-


Stanford University stated that the proportion of

positions on newspapers open to women is lim-ited, and the

journalism department took that into consideration when
accepting women into that major.39 Of two hundred wire-

service journalists in New York in 1963, maybe a half-

dozen were women. Of nearly seventy journalists in NBC's.

New York news department, two were women; the New York Times

had one copy girl.40


Another area needing a critical viewing is salary.

How much does the average female public-relations profes-

sional earn? How does this compare with the salaries of

38Weber and Seifert, p. 34.
Leonard James Ryan and Bernard Ryan Jr., So You Want to
Go Into Journalism (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), p. 127.
40 id

women in other fields as well as comparing with the

salaries of men in public relations?

Public relations, as well as countless other pro-

fessions, falls under the Equal Pay Under Fair Labor

Standards Act. This act passed just a few years ago

and covers all workers under minimum wage; for example,

most employees in telephone, telegraph, radio, television,

advertising agencies, hospitals, schools, hotels, motels,

restaurants, and other retail and service establishments
are covered.41 These are all areas where public-relations

practitioners might be employed.

The Equal Pay Under Fair Labor Standards Act

states that "Employers may not pay employees of one sex

wages at rates lower than are paid employees of the oppo-

site sex employed in the same establishment, for equal

work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsi-

bility which are performed under similar working condi-

v Yet in 1972 the United States Department of Labor

stated that "women earn considerably less than men in com-

parable educational and job status. This is mostly be-
cause they are given more.menial jobs." But that can

U.S..Department of Labor, Equal Pay Act.
U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration.

not be the entire reason. More specifically, what statis-

tics are available regarding the salaries of women in

public relations?

The 1966 survey discussed earlier in this chapter

states that women in public relations (executives) get

considerably more money than women in most popular women's


This survey gave the average salary of its 149 re-

spondents as $11,358.18. Two thirds of the women made be-

tween $6,000 and $13,000 annually. Eleven percent exceeded

$20,000 with the top salary reported at $40,000. These

figures were slightly less than those reported by men in
the same field.4

In 1968 the United States Labor Department stated

that the salary range for women in public relations (after

a few years of experience) was between $8,000 and $12,000.46

The 1967 survey done in Washington stated that many of the

women complained of difficulty in climbing beyond the

eight-to-ten-thousand-a-year bracket. They felt that

they did not receive the same pay as males because of a

belief that it is not necessary to pay women as much as

men on the same level.47

Weber and Seifert, p. 34.
U.S. Department of Labor, Why Not Be a Public-Relations
Ireton, p. 15.

The 1960 census showed that the median salary for

women in secondary education was $4,492; for secretaries

it was $3,427, and for nurses it was $3,186.48 A female

public-relations practitioner could then look forward to

about $8,000 to $12,000 a year. The figures are naturally

altered in 1975, but the proportionate.difference is re-

flected nevertheless.

As of 1972 the highest-paid woman executive in

the country was in a journalism-related career. Mary Wells

Lawrence then earned $385,000 per year as chairman of

Wells, Riche, Greene: one of the top advertising agencies
in the nation.4

Another vital area of salary comparison is that of

male versus female pay scales in public relations. Un-

fortunatelythere is even less information available on

this topic than on any other.

At the present time, a study is under way in Tampa,

Florida, to study the wage gap between men and women hos-
5 0
pital public-relations directors. This is only one small

area of public relations, but perhaps it will be an indica-

tion of the whole.

Smith, "Women in Public Relations."
9Arthur J. Rath, "Women as Community Leaders," Public Rela-
tions Journal, vol. 27, no. 1 (January 1971), p. 19.
50Margie Bradford, Study of Wage Gap Between Men and Women
Hospital Public Relations Directors (Tampa, Florida: Tampa General
Hospital Foundation, Inc., 1975).

Currently there are only partial results of this

study. But some information is better than none and it

merits study.

Heading this study is Ms. Margie Bradford, execu-

tive director of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation, Inc.

In a memo to the American Society of Hospital Public Rela-

tions Officers (ASHPR), Ms. Bradford explains that her re-

port contains only partial information on the possible

salary gap based on sex. Since no specific information has

been found, her committee is continuing its work by doing

a survey of ASHPR members. A large part of her survey is

adapted from the questionnaire designed for this thesis.

The two main questions that will hopefully be an-

swered are:

1. Is there a salary gap between men and women
in public relations?

2. Are there other factors which affect the pos-
sible salary difference, such as education,
professional background, etc.?51

Some general information already discovered includes

the fact that the last ASHPR member roster showed 44% of
the membership was women. Such a high female membership

would show salary difference more easily.

51 52
Ibid. Ibid.

Preliminary research showed that eight hospital

associations that had responded to Ms. Bradford's inquiry

all agreed that sex is not used as a determinant in salary.53

However, Ms. Bradford conducted her own informal

survey at a recent ASHPR workshop. "With participants

from five states and evenly distributed between men and

women, we found the men's average salary to be $15,746.66

and the women's to be $8,594.75. (Even admitting the men

may have more background and education, that .difference is

still quite a gap.)"54

The following quote was published in 1972 by the

National Public Relations Council of Health and Welfare

Services, Inc., regarding salary discrepancy between the

sexes in nonprofit organizations. It states:

Vomen get less money than men for public-re-
relations positions in nonprofit organiza-
tions. It makes no difference if.we compare
salaries in California, New York, Ohio, or
Texas. It makes no difference if we compare
salaries paid by hospitals, social welfare,
health, or youth agencies. Women simply get
less money than men. There's no way to ex-
plain the salary difference except by a sys-
tematic wage discrimination. Just as many
women as men, for example, hold a master's
degree in journalism. The most discouraging
aspect of the salary difference between men
and women is that the gap grows as women
gain in experience, improving their skills.
When first starting, women get about $2,000
less than men; after ten years, women get
$6,000 less.55

53 54 55




This is backed up by a report in a recent issue of

Monthly Labor Review which states that a person's skill,
sex, and age still determine his or her pay. Two addi-

tional sources give further weight to these conclusions.

First, the September 1974 issue of Advancement Analysis

states "Development officers who are women encounter spe-

cial problems. According to a new study, fund raiser's

personality is fourth on the list of things influencing

advancement success. If the fund raiser is a female, this

factor gets biased attention."57

Finally, Shirley Boanmen, director of public rela-

tions for the Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, par-

tially states "Men in the field make more money than women--

men earned an average salary each year between $16,000 and

$20,000; women, a mean of $12,000 to $16,000. Six of the

women earned less than $8,000 per year; there was only one

man inthis salary group.5

These results are certainly discouraging to women,

but apparently not unusual. While the public-relations

profession is not the only area where this bias occurs, it

is nonetheless frustrating to encounter. Hopefully, if

enough light is shed on the issue, employers will be forced

to stop such practices.

56Ibid. 57Ibid. 58Ibid.




The following data are based on a survey of 265 fe-

male members of the Public Relations Society of America.

These women were a random sample of the total female mem-

bership of the 1975 Public Relations Society of America

Register. This group was chosen in order to assure that

the women questioned were practicing professionals in the

public-relations field. While this does put some bias into

the results, it was the most feasible way of reaching the

group of women needed.

There were a total of 893 women listed in the 1975

Public Relations Society of America Register. Two hundred

and sixty-five women were randomly chosen after running a

test for statistical accuracy. The sample was chosen by

counting off every three-and-one-third female name in the





The following data are based on a survey of 265 fe-

male members of the Public Relations Society of America.

These women were a random sample of the total female mem-

bership of the 1975 Public Relations Society of America

Register. This group was chosen in order to assure that

the women questioned were practicing professionals in the

public-relations field. While this does put some bias into

the results, it was the most feasible way of reaching the

group of women needed.

There were a total of 893 women listed in the 1975

Public Relations Society of America Register. Two hundred

and sixty-five women were randomly chosen after running a

test for statistical accuracy. The sample was chosen by

counting off every three-and-one-third female name in the



Each woman was sent a questionnaire asking for such

information as salary, educational background, job status,

and employment background. She was also asked several

questions regarding her feelings about her profession and

her role as a woman in public relations. Also enclosed

was a cover letter explaining the purpose of the study

and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. It was

stated that all involved would remain anonymous. The ques-

tionnaire asked for a name only so that records could be

accurately kept as the questionnaires were returned.

This prevented a second mailing from being needlessly sent

to those who had already responded. The questionnaire

and cover letter are reproduced in Appendix A.

To have an 80% response, 212 questionnaires needed

to be returned. As it turned out, 209 usable questionnaires

were completed, a response percentage of 78.4. Each ques-

tionnaire was carefully coded and all information was pro-

fessionally keypunched for computer programming.

The program used was the Statistical Package for

the Social Sciences, known as the SPSSH. A total of four-

teen variables were used in sixteen column spaces. Briefly

the variables were labeled as follows: VAR 1, case number;

VAR 2, length of employment; VAR 3, highest degree, VAR 4,

type of degree; VAR 5, public-relations course work; VAR 6,

age; VAR 7, salary; VAR 8, professional background; VAR 9,

feelings on being a woman in public relations; VAR 12,

marriage; VAR 13, children; and VAR 14, feelings of discrimi-


The final portion of the questionnaire asked each

participant to give personal comments on her feelings

about being a woman in the public-relations profession.

She was asked to include any advice she might give to a

young woman considering a career in public relations. The

comments made by the women are reproduced in Appendix B.

The data are divided into two areas for discussion

purposes. The first portion includes statistical questions

covering such topics as age, salary, and education. Each

question will receive individual analysis and will be

broken down into percentages. The second portion looks at

those questions involving attitude. This includes feelings

of discrimination, participation in policy decisions, the

effects of being a woman in public relations, and individual


Analysis of Statistical Data

The following information comes from the present

study under investigation whose methodological and pro-

cedural treatment was discussed in the previous sections.

One of the first questions asked on the question-

naire regarded job position. This was written as a fill-in

rather than a multiple-choice question deliberately. The

reasoning was based on the hypothesis that there are scores

of different names for a public-relations practitioner.

Of the 209 returned questionnaires, over fifty dif-

ferent titles were listed by the word position. The most-

often given description was public-relations director or

director of public relations. Thirty-five women used this

title. Publicity manager and director of public information

were each given five times.

Twenty-two respondents owned .their own public-

relations firms. This is slightly higher than 10%.' Seven-

teen women listed their positions as vice-president. This

puts a total of thirty-nine women in high executive posts.

The range of other titles is large. Some of the

more obvious include public-relations consultant, public-

relations manager, communications director, public-relations

counselor, public-relations planner, and editor of house

publications. Others are so obscure, one might never know

that the person was in public relations. These include

creative director, manager of communications, deputy director

of public affairs, principal, director of community relations,

and account executive.

The concept of public relations has not always been

a favorable one. It has often been confused with mere

publicity seeking and sensationalism. Perhaps this is the

reason for the varied titles. As public relations becomes

acknowledged as a full-fledged profession by more and more

people, it is possible that more standard titles will be


Statistical data on the length of employment in

present positions and all of the following questions will

be presented using the same types of statistics. The

percentage of response in each category will always be

given. Figures will represent the adjusted frequency rather

than relative frequency. The adjusted frequency figures

percentages only according to the number of women answering

the particular question, not according to the total number

of women surveyed. In other words, if five people did not

answer the question on length of employment, percentages

reflect 204 answers rather than 209. Also, the absolute

frequency, or total number of times each response was

indicated, will be given. For example, sixty-one women

were employed for 2-5 yrs. If pertinent to discussion

of the individual question, the cumulative adjusted fre-

quency, written as a percentage, will be stated. This

final set of figures represents the adjusted frequency

of each category added to the adjusted frequency of each

preceding category. Further statistics that will be

presented when necessary are the mean, or average number,

and the mode, or the most frequently occurring number.


The following choices were given as answers to

the question "How long have you been employed in your

present position?": under 2 yrs, 2-5 yrs, 5-10 yrs, and

over 10 yrs. Also coded were any missing answers and any

cases where the question was not applicable. This was

true in the case of one woman who had just retired.

The under-2-yr category was indicated as appli-
cable by 29.9% (AF) of the .respondents. This amounts to

61 out of 209 women. Slightly higher at 31.4% (AF), the

2-to-5-yr category was the largest. Sixty-four women

found this applicable. Thirty-three women, or 16.2% (AF)

answered that they had been in the present positions be-

tween 5-10 yrs. The last category, over 10 yrs, was

chosen by forty-six, or 22.5% (AF) of the total. Three

women did not answer this question, and in the one case

described above, it was not applicable. The mean was

2.314, while the mode came to exactly 2.000.

Educational background was investigated in a

series of three questions, the first asking each respondent

to indicate the level of her highest degree. Many indicated

that they had some work completed. toward the next highest

degree, but statistics represent only degrees actually ob-

tained. For instance, several women indicated that they

AF indicates adjusted frequency.
AF indicates adjusted frequency.

had a high-school degree and had also completed two years

of college but had never earned their bachelor's degree.

Therefore, their response was coded only as high school

and is represented as such statistically. The four

choices included high school, bachelor's, master's, and


Only one person failed to answer this question.

Of those 208 who did answer, thirty-four, or 16.3% (AF),

said that high school was the level of their highest de-

gree. However, 141 womdn, or 67.8% (AF), stated that the

held college degrees. ;Going on, thirty-three respondents,

or 15.9% (AF), indicated that they held master's degrees.

Interestingly, not one woman marked doctorate as highest

degree level, although one wrote in that she was working

on it. The mode was 2.000 (college) while,the mean was

1.995 (or almost college level). The cumulative adjusted

frequency is of interest in this case. While the adjusted

frequency for college level was 67.8%, the cumulative

adjusted frequency of those 'with master's degrees added

to the percentage at college level: the figures show 83.7%

of the total actually held college degrees.

Those with college degrees were asked in what area

they earned this degree. The choices were public relations,

advertising, journalism, business, or something else. If

they fell in the other category, the women were asked to

specify the nature of their degree. While reading the

following statistics, it must be kept in mind that all

figures represent only the 83.7% of people with college

degrees, not all 209 subjects.

It is notable that only sixteen women, or 9.4%

(AF), majored in public relations in college. And for

public relations' cousin, advertising, only three women,

or 1.8% (AF), had this as their major. A journalism major,

on the other hand, was indicated by seventy, or 41.2% (AF),

of all respondents. There were four business majors,

totaling 2.4% (AF).

The largest category was other. Seventy-seven

women, or 45.3% (AF) checked this square. Of these, four-

teen said they held degrees in English. Five were in

liberal arts, six studied sociology, and five majored in

home economics. Five were education majors, five held

degrees in speech, and two indicated they were philosophy

majors. There was an assortment of others including his-

tory, dietetics, art, psychology, Spanish, economics, and

political science. Yet all of these women are practicing

public relations.

Those women with college degrees in areas other

than public relations were asked whether or not they had

any course work in public relations. Again these statistics

do not represent all 209 respondents, but only those 168

with the baccalaureate. Seven women omitted this question

for reasons unknown. Of those answering it, there was

almost an even split. Eighty-three persons, or 49.4%

(AF), stated yes: they had course work in public relations.

Eighty-five, or 50.6% (AF), stated no: they had no course

work in public relations.

Age was asked by a breakdown into six categories.

These included under 25, 25-30, 31-35, 36-40, 41-50, and

over 50. The following data was crosstabulated with salary

and feelings of discrimination. Eleven persons, or 5.3%

(AF) were under 25 yrs of age. The 25-30 category had

thirty-nine members, or 18.8% (AF) of the total. Twenty-

three women stated they were between 31-35 yrs of age.

This is 11.1% (AF). In the 36-40 group there were six-

teen, or 7.7% (AF) of the whole. Fifty-seven, or 27.4%

(AF), fell in the 41-50 group, and sixty-two women, or

29.8% (AF), said they were over 50 yrs of age. One woman

said it was nobody's business how old she was. The mean

age fell between 36-40 yrs, while the mode was over 50.

Salary was one of the most important questions.

It would have been ideal to find out also the salary

range of men in the profession, but this was beyond the

scope of the present study. However, for a means of

comparison, the reader may refer to Chapter One.

Salaries were broken down into six categories.

The first was anything up to $6,999. Second was $7,000

to $10,999 annually. The next three categories covered

the ranges of $11,000-$13,999, $14,000-$15,999, $16,000-

$20,000, and over $20,000 respectively. There were 201

valid observations to this question as eight women

neglected to answer.

Only two people, or 1% (AF), said they made less

than $6,999 annually. Twenty-six, or 12.9% (AF), indi-

cated that their salaries fell between $7,000 and $10,999

per year. A larger number--forty-two, or 20% (AF)--made

between $11,000 and $13,999 annually. The $14,000-

$15,999 category had twenty-nine, or 14.4% (AF), members,

and the $16,000-$20,000 range included forty-six persons,

or 22.9% (AF). Fifty-six persons, or 27.9% (AF) made

over $20,000 a year. This was the largest category, or

mode. The mean salary fell into the $14,000-$15,999 group.

Career backgrounds were investigated by asking each

woman to indicate the area of work she might previously

have been in. This question was not applicable in six

cases where the woman was in her first job. Coded responses

included business or sales, radio, television, editing, and

magazine work. Space was left for fill-in answers when

necessary and for comments by respondents. Also coded

were those women who had experience in several areas.

Nineteen persons, or 19.6% (AF), came from previous

jobs in business or sales-related areas. Only nine women,

or 9.3% (AF), had previous experience in radio, and five,

5.2% (AF), had previous experience in television. Editing

was the largest category with thirty-four members, or


35.1% (AF) of the total. Magazine work received a slim

4.1% (AF), or four persons. Twenty-three women, or 23.7%

(AF), indicated they had worked in several areas. One

area not covered.by multiple choices that obviously should

have been -was newspaper work. Twenty-three people wrote

this career area as a fill-in. This is a total of 23.7%.

Thirteen women wrote that while their current position

was not their first, previous jobs had also been in the

public-relations field. Eight women had worked in adver-

tising. This is more than twice the number that indicated

they held degrees in advertising. Six respondents said

that they had been secretaries before becoming public-

relations professionals. One woman had been a school-

teacher, and another did what she called product publicity.

The mode in this case was 4.000, or editing.

The next area of exploration revolves around

marriage. Each woman was asked if she was or was not

married. Five women.refused to answer the question.

Several wrote in that they were widowed or divorced, but

these were coded as no answers. Out of 204 valid observa-

tions, 104 women, or 51% (AF), indicated that they were

married. Ninety-nine women, or 48.5% (AF), said they were

not married. Therefore, more than half of those surveyed

combined marriage with.a career.

Eighty-nine women, or 46.4% (AF), also had children.

One hundred and three, or 53.6% (AF), stated that they had

no children. Of the eighty-nine women who did have

children, thirty of them had at least one child under

16 yrs of age. This means that nearly half of these

career women were working mothers and that a third of

these working mothers had children living at home who

were not of college age.

Table 1 is a crosstabulation of the highest de-

gree of each respondent and its relation to her salary.

In other words, the table shows how many women with

high-school degrees make under $6,999, how many with

master's degrees make over $20,000, and so on.

By reading Table 1, it can be seen that educa-

tional background influences salary to a degree. For

example, 71.4% of all women earning over $20,000 a year

had college degrees and 17.9% held master's degrees.

Only 10.7% of the women in this salary range had no more

than a high-school diploma. When reading this table, it

is important to remember that the number of college

graduates is four times higher than either the high-

school or master's-degree categories, and this is

reflected in the given figures.

To read the table, look for the salary range

across the top and the degree categories on the left.

Find the box that corresponds with each variable. The

four'numbers in each box represent the following: the

first number is the total number of women falling in the

Table 1

DEGREE $0-6,999 $7,000-10,999 $11,000-13,999 $14,000-15,999 $16,000-20,000 Over $20,000

5 8 5 9 6
High 0 15.2 24.2 15.2 27.3 18.2
School 19.2 19.0 17.2 19.6 10.7
3.5 4.0 2.5 4.5 3.0

2 19 29 18 27 40
College 1.5 14.1 21.5 13.3 20.0 29.6
100.0 73.1 69.0 62.1 58.7 71.4
1.1 9.5 14.4 9.0 13.4 19.9

2 5 6 10 10
Master's 0 6.1 15.2 18.2 30.3 30.3
7.7 11.9 20.7 21.7 17.9
1.0 25 3.0 5.0 5.0

NOTE: The first number in each vertical grouping represents the total number of women in this particular
group; the second number represents the total percentage of women in the degree category receiving the in-
dicated salary; the third number, the total percentage of women in the salary category holding a degree;
and the fourth number, the percentage of total women in the particular category.

particular group; the second number shows the total per-

centage of women in only that degree category who are re-

ceiving the salary indicated. For example, in the box

under $7,000-$10,999 and across from the high-school

category, notice 15.2. This means that 15.2% of all

those with only a high-school education are earning be-

tween $7,000 and $10,999 per year.

The third number represents the percentage of

women in that salary category who hold the degree indi-

cated. For example, looking in the same box as before,

19.2 represents all women earning between $7,000 and

$10,999 annually; 19.2% hold high-school degrees. The

fourth number gives the percentage of total women in the

individual category. In the same box, 2.5% of all women

questioned had a high-school degree and earned between

$7,000 and $10,999 per year.

Table 2 shows the relationship between age and

salary. It is read in the same manner as Table 1, but

the left-hand variable changes to age.

It is interesting to note that 81.8% of all women

under 25 yrs of age were making between $7,000 and $10,999

per year. The rest of the women in this age category (only

two) earned between $11,000 and $13,999 annually, and no

one under 25 yrs earned more than this. One other point,

obtained from Tables 1, 2, and 3 was that only two women

made under $6,999 per year. Both had college degrees,

Table 2

AGE $0-6,999 $7,000-$10,999 $11,000-13,999 $14,000-15,999 $16,000-20,000 Over $20,000

9 2
Under 018.1 18.2
25 34.6 4.9
4.5 1.0
7 14 6 6 4
25-30 0 18.9 37.8 16.2 16.2 10.8
26.9 34.1 20.7 13.0 7.1
3.5 7.0 3.0 3.0 2.0
1 3 6 7 6
31-35 0 4.3 13.0 26.1 30.4 26.1
3.8 7.3 20.7 15.2 10.7
0.5 1.5 3.0 3.5 3.0
2 3 1 4 5
36-40 0 13.3 20.0 6.7 26.7 33.3
7.7 7.3 3.4 8.7 8.9
1.0 1.5 0.5 2.0 2.5
2 3 7 7 17 21
41-50 3.5 5.3 12.3 12.3 29.8 36.8
100.0 11.5 17.1 24.1 37.0 37.5
1.0 1.5 3.5 3.5 8.5 10.5
4 12 9 12 20
Over 0 7.0 21.1 15.8 21.1 35.1
50 15.4 29.3 31.0 26.1 37.7
2.0 6.0 4.5 6.0 10.0

NOTE: The first number
group; the second number
cated salary; the third

in each vertical grouping represents the total number of women in this particular
Represents the total percentage of women in the age category receiving the indi-
number, the total percentage of women in the salary category for each age grouping;

and the fourth number, the percentage of total women in the particular category.

were between the ages of 41 and 50 yrs, and had been em-

ployed between 2 and 5 yrs.

Table 3 again uses salary as a variable. However,

on the left the variable is length of employment. This

table shows a trend toward higher salary as length of

employment rises. For instance, of those making over

$20,000, about twice the number had been employed over

10 yrs than any other length of employment category.

In the $7,000-$10,999 category was only one woman

employed over 10 yrs. Four (2.0%) women earning this

salary had each been employed between 5-10 yrs and 2-5 yrs.

Yet of those employed under 2 yrs, seventeen women (8.5%)

fell into this earning group. This general trend can be

further evidenced by studying Table 3.

Table 3

ENPLOYMENT $0-6,999 $7,000-10,999 $11,000-13,999 $14,000-15,999 $16,000-20,000 Over $20,000

17 15 7 11 10
Under 0 28.3 25.0 11.7 18.3 16.7
25 yrs 65.4 36.6 24.1 24.4 17.9
8.5 7.5 3.5 5.5 5.0

2 4 18 9 15 15
2-5 yrs 3.2 6.3 28.6 14.3 23.8 23.8
100.0 15.4 43.9 31.0 33.3 26.8
1.0 2.0 9.0 4.5 7.5 7.5

4 2 5 11 10
5-10 yrs 12.5 6.3 15.6 34.4 31.3
15.4 4.9 17.2 24.4 17.9
2.0 1.0 2.5 5.5 5.0

1 6 8 8 21
Over 0 2.3 13.6 18.2 18.2 47.7
10 yrs 3.8 14.6 27.6 17.8 37.5
0.5 3.0 4.0 4.0 10.6

NOTE: The first number in each vertical grouping represents the total number of women in this particular

group; the second number represents
receiving the indicated salary; the
for the age bracket; and the fourth

the total percentage of women in the length-of-employment category
third number, the total percentage of women in the salary category
number, the percentage of total women in the particular category.



The preceding chapter dealt with data of a

strictly factual nature. Chapter Three will look at the

statistical results of questions concerning the attitudes

and feelings of the 209 women who responded to the survey.

Such questions as "Would you choose this profession again

if you could begin your career over?"_were investigated.

Also included will be extensive discussion of the hand-

written comments that many of the women added at the end

of the questionnaire. These comments include feelings on

their own positions as well as advice to young women con-

sidering public relations as a career.

One of the first attitude questions asked "Do

you feel that being a woman in your job is an asset, a

hindrance, or has no affect?" Many women seemed to have

trouble answering this. Thirty-three left the question

blank, but many of them wrote in their answers. The main

idea behind the comments was that it very often worked

both ways. In other words, sometimes it was an asset to

be a woman, and at other times it was a hindrance. Some-

times it made no difference at all.

Of the 176 respondents who did mark a specific

box, fifty-eight, or 33% (AF), felt that being a woman

was a definite asset. Forty women, or 22.7% (AF), believed

being female was a hindrance in their jobs. Those who

felt it had no effect totaled seventy-eight, or 44.3%

(AF). It is noteworthy that many of those who checked only

one category still noted below that their answer did not

always apply. Looking at the cumulative adjusted fre-

quency, only 22.7% (AF) felt negative about being a woman

in their jobs, while the cumulative adjusted frequency

showed 77.3% of the respondents felt either positive or

neutral on the subject.

When asked whether they felt they participated in

policy decisions in their organizations, the women had less

trouble coming up with a definite answer. Only eight

people did not answer this question.

Of the 201 women who answered, an overwhelming 152,

or 75.6% (AF), said yes: they did participate in policy

decisions. Still, forty-nine women, or 24.4% (AF), felt

they did not participate in policy decisions. However,

the fact that three fourths of all respondents reacted

positively is promising.

Even more overwhelming were the responses to the

question of career choice. The women were asked whether

or not they would choose public relations again if they

could begin their careers over. Eleven respondents did

not answer this question, but of the 198 who did, 177,

or 89.4% (AF), stated that they definitely would choose

public relations again. Only twenty-one women, or 10.6%

(AF), said that they would choose something else if they

could begin their careers over.

Many had comments to make regarding this question.

Interestingly, several women said that they had not

originally chosen public relations for their profession

but had more or less floundered into it. Yet they went

on to say, in one form or another, that they were glad

and would choose public relations if they started over.

Since each participant in this survey was guaran-

teed anonymity, comments will be quoted without footnotes

or crediting the source. Let it be understood that all

quotes are taken directly off the questionnaires.

The word that stands out among all the comments

is challenging. One woman summed up the feelings of many

by saying "It's never the same, so it can't become dull.

A person can go as far as his energy and creativity will

take him." Another stated simply: "This is my field."

Interesting, exciting, creative, and personal growth

were often-used words.

Such positive responses such as "a thousand times

yes. I only wish I had started it much earlier instead

of wasting my time in other fields, although the background

is useful" countered the relatively few negative comments.

The idea of the variety of the work involved was a recur--

ring theme.

Of those replying that they would not choose

public relations again, most made no comment. Those few

who did usually had a different career in mind. For ex-

ample, one woman said she would go into medicine; another,

law. There were almost no negative comments other than

one woman who found her work "boring" and another who

felt there was no opportunity for advancement. On the

whole, however, this question brought forth a strong,

positive response.

Another important area of attitude was whether or

not these women felt discrimination against them in their

respective jobs because they were women. Eight people did

not mark either box. Of the 201 who did reply, eighty-

four, or 41.8% (AF), stated yes: they felt discrimination.

On the other hand, 117, or 58.2% (AF), said no: they did

not feel discriminated against because they were female.

Once again, many respondents found it difficult

to give a simple yes-or-no answer. Many checked one box

or the other but added a comment that it was hard to say.

The general attitude was that there may be discrimination

at times but that there are times also when there is none.

Several women commented that they felt no discrimination

in their present positions but had in previous jobs.

Several individuals said they had found much more discrim-

ination in the past than they found in 1975. Interestingly,

three women commented on the fact that they were currently

in New York where they felt no discrimination but stated

that they had found it in other parts of the country,

particularly in the south.

Two crosstabulations were conducted with this

material. They are presented in Tables 4 and 5. The

first of these, Table 4, examines the relationship of age

with the question asking if being a woman was an asset or

hindrance to each woman in her particular job. To read

this table, refer to Chapter Two for an explanation.

Several points are noteworthy. Of the nine women

under the age of 25 yrs, not one felt that her being a

woman was an asset. Two felt it hindered them, while

seven, the majority, believed it had no effect. A

higher portion of older women felt being a woman was an

asset. Of all those who believed it was an asset, 64.9%

of them were 41 yrs of age or older. In most age groups,

other than the youngest and oldest, opinions were divided

in a fairly even manner.

Table 5 again used age as the left-hand variable.

However, this time it was crosstabulated with the ques-

tion of whether or not discrimination was felt by each

person. According to several hypotheses, one would expect


Table 4


0 2 7
Under 0.0 22.2 77.8
25 0.0 5.0 9.0
0.0 1.1 4.0

10 11 9
33.3 36.7 30.0
17.5 27.5 11.5
5.7 6.3 5.1

4 5 8
23.5 29.4 47.1
7.0 12.5 10.3
2.3 2.9 4.6

6 2 5
46.2 15.4 38.5
10.5 5.0 6.4
3.4 1.1 2.9

17 12 19
35.4 25.0 39.6
29.8 30.0 24.4
9.7 6.9 10.9

20 8 30
Over 34.5 13.8 51.7
50 35.1 20.0 38.5
11.4 4.6 17.1

NOTE: The first number in each vertical grouping represents the total
number of women in this particular group; the second number represents
the total percentage of women in the age category expressing the in-
dicated feeling; the third number, the total percentage of women in
the attitude category for the particular age bracket; and the fourth
number, the percentage of total women in the particular category.

Table 5


4 7
Under 36.4 63.6
25 4.8 6.0
2.0 3.5

16 22
25-30 42.1 57.9
19.3 18.8
8.0 11.0

11 11
31-35 50.0 50.0
13.3 9.4
5.5 5.5

3 12
36-40 20.0 80.0
3.6 10.3
1.5 6.0

25 30
41-50 45.5 54.5
30.1 25.6
12.5 15.0

24 35
Over 40.7 59.3
50 28.9 29.9
12.0 17.5

NOTE: The first number in each vertical grouping represents the total
number of women in this particular group; the second number represents
the total percentage of women in the age category feeling or not
feeling discrimination; the third number, the total percentage of
women in the feelings-of-discrimination subcategory for the particular
age bracket; and the fourth number, the percentage of total women in
the particular category.

younger women to feel discrimination more than older women.

This is based on the rationale that older women are accus-

omed to discrimination and accept it as a part of life.

Yet the actual results do not show that this is

so. In five out of the six age groupings, more women said

that they did not feel discrimination than women said that

they did. In the other category, 31-35 yrs of age, an

equal number of women responded to yes and no. On the

whole, more women did not feel discrimination than women

did, and age seemed to have very little effect.

The final item on the questionnaire asked for com-

ments each person might have regarding her feelings on

being a woman in public relations. It also requested

advice for young women considering the field. The personal

notes and even separate letters received could fill a book.

However, presented here are those remarks, that best cover

the general feelings of most of the women. Again, all

sources will remain anonymous, and quotations will be un-

identified synopses of remarks.

This discussion fell into two sections: the general

feelings of a woman practicing public relations and the words

of advice for those planning to practice. There may be

points where these two run together, for they certainly

are closely related.

One woman summed up the attitude of men toward

woman in the business world. This same attitude was mentioned

on numerous questionnaires. She said that most folks

cannot help but resist change. "Especially," she con-

tinued, "when it comes to conceptualizing a woman as

something more than wife and mother. Consider the business

luncheon. When the conversation veers from business, it

generally turns to sports, especially football. My

superior, however, feels bound to make some comment to me

about a more 'feminine' subject. 'Could you recommend a

good omelet pan?!'"

Another woman, one of many with a similar comment,

feels that "public relations has been more receptive to

women than most other fields. It still is." Salary,

though, does not seem equal. A large portion of the

comments mentioned lack of equality in this area.

Two of the most common descriptions of these

women's careers were exciting and challenging. Many noted

that the work was varied, interesting, and stimulating.

The idea that women "need to work twice as hard as

men" and need to be "overqualified" was emphasized re-

peatedly. Yet there is room to get ahead. The majority

of comments contained the idea that public relations is

an excellent field for a woman. Discrimination was mostly

mentioned in terms of money: "Discrimination is prevalent

in the area of remuneration, equal pay for equal work. I

make less than some of my colleagues who have less educa-

tion and .the same amount of experience. It's a good field

for women, but it's a field dominated, or controlled, by

men executives." Others mentioned that men have some

difficulty erasing old stereotypes of women and treat

them with a degree of "old-fashioned chauvinism."

Yet one woman brought up a point. She believes

women are the cause of their own problems. Men do not

expect women to shoot for the top position, a point em-

phasized by many who filled in this question. This one

woman places the blame with her own sex. "Historically

speaking, [women] have not sought to attain positions held

predominantly by men. Women have not realized themselves

as productive contributors to business or industry. Women

have allowed men to take the lead. The women's movement

has of course brought about a new awareness, a new reali-

zation of our own self-worth.

"As a result, as I see it, many women are now

screaming about discrimination and expect to move into

positions of authority and management which men have be-

cause they have 'worked their way up.'" Her advice goes

along with her philosophy: "You must take your self and

your position seriously."

The idea, while impossible to prove, is worth a

good deal of thought. Others added more ideas for success.

Several suggested aiming for positions in management.

Course work along these lines may be helpful. A number of

women suggested a degree in business.

While the overall views were highly positive, many

women cautioned that discrimination is not gone: women

get less money, slightly less respect, and need to work

harder than men.

But another point made by large numbers of women

could help counter these problems. Think of yourself as

a person. Stop harping on discussions of men versus women.

Work with men as their equals and do not use femininity

as a weapon or excuse. Do not try to act like a man. One

woman suggested that while society favors aggressive be-

havior in men, it frowns on the same in women. One re-

spondent summed up the ideas of many when she said "A

woman needs to be creative, talented, energetic, feminine,

resourceful, sometimes courageous, indefatigable, and

hold onto a sunny disposition."

Careerwise advice was varied and plentiful. It

was suggested that setting goals is necessary and that

if a girl wants a "nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday

life, public relations is out, or at least any responsible

position in public relations. Her ethics should be higher

than average since she will constantly need to guard her-

self and her employers from the simple, short-term solu-

tions. She should work only for organizations in which

she believes."

The key to success seems to be to know the public-

relations field completely. Get the most well-rounded

background possible. Do not overlook such basics as

spelling and grammar and above all, learn to write. This

last point was emphasized by nearly every woman. Whether

she recommended journalism as a major or not, writing

was stressed as a most vital quality. Many thought this

could best be done by obtaining newspaper experience.

Also, advertising knowledge, media experience, and general

business sense were three areas in which competency was

highly advised.

While several women recommended learning to type,

others specifically advised against learning this skill.

The rationale behind this was that if one could not type,

she could not be relegated to a basically secretarial


Also suggested was doing public-relations work in

a traditionally "female" area such as women's products,

social-agency fund raising, and so on. Those who suggested

this felt it was easier to advance in these areas. Keeping

in touch with new developments both in journalistic realms

and otherwise is advisable.

One woman suggested: "Learn the basics in some

of the 'technical' areas that women often avoid--photography,

printing, production, and purchasing. A public-relations

generalist can't know too much about anything." Another

added: "Learn something about business administration,

marketing, government, etc."

In summation, all 209 women were in general agree-

ment on the basic points. Public relations is a good

field for women. Be prepared for some discrimination but

meet it in a ladylike manner. Get the broadest possible

background, especially in journalism. Know your craft

and be prepared to work as hard as you can. Remember that

appearance counts. "Don't trade on your femininity, but

don't ever lose it; it is an asset but can't substitute

for competence."



On the whole, the 209 women who took part in this

study shared many feelings and characteristics. Most were

college graduates, although few majored in public relations.

And while less than half had degrees in journalism, a

great majority of women suggested that such a background

is necessary.

More importantly, most women were happy in their

work. Multiple-choice and fill-in questions alike--answers

revealed that most of these practitioners enjoyed their

jobs, encouraged other women to enter the profession,

and 89.4% (AF) stated definitely that they would choose

public relations again if they could begin their careers

over. This might have been the single most revealing .an-

swer of the entire study.

Personal notes backed up this theme. Most women

took the time to write in some personal remarks regarding

their attitudes toward their profession, advice to new-

comers, and other assorted information. The overall pic-

ture was pleasant.

Respondents indicated that they found their work

interesting, challenging and varied. They stressed the

need for broad, general backgrounds including knowledge

of business with emphasis on writing skills.

Statistical data, such as salary, would have more

meaning if there were some means of comparison. For ex-

ample, one suggestion for'further research would be to

run a similar study on men in public relations. Obviously

some questions would need to be reworded; others, omitted

entirely. But such a study would determine how men felt

about the public-relations profession. Perhaps their

attitudes would be entirely different. Or if their

attitudes were the same, maybe they reached their conclu-

sions in different ways. Such a study would allow salary

comparisons to be run between men and women in the same

profession. Background in both education and job exper-

ience could be compared.

Another area of research that would shed con-

siderable light on the role of women in public relations

would be studies of the same nature conducted on women in

other professions. Providing a similar questionnaire for

women in several other areas would offer excellent means

of comparison. It would be most interesting to use pro-

fessions commonly thought of as typical jobs for women.

These might include teachers, air-line stewardesses, and

dental hygenists. Then, if possible, survey women in


professions thought of as more unusual for women, such as

law and medicine.

If all these studies could be conducted, the pic-

ture of the role of women in public relations would be

much more complete. However, until then, such data as

those presented in this thesis will have to suffice.

At least a broad and general look is available.

A few years ago, even this was impossible.


Boland, Charles. Careers and Opportunities in Advertising.
New York: Dutton and Co., 1964.

Bradford, Margie. Study of Wage Gap Between Men and Women
Hospital Public Relations Directors. Tampa, Florida:
Tampa General Hospital Foundation, Inc., 1975.

Cutlip, Scott, and Allen Center.. Effective Public Relations.
New York: Prentice Hall, 1956.

Griswold, Glenn, and Danny Griswold. Your Public Relations.
New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1948.

Ireton, Barbara. "The Female Practitioner Talks About Her
Status," Public Relations Journal, vol. 23, no. 9
(September 1967), pp. 14-15.

Lesly, Philip, ed. Public Relations Handbook. New Jersey:
Prentice Hall, 1950.

Logie, lona Robertson. Careers for Women in Journalism.
Pennsylvania: International Textbook Co., 1938.

Mott, George Fox. An Outline Survey of Journalism. New
York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1937.

Rath, Arthur J. "Women as Community Leaders," Public Rela-
tions Journal, vol. 27, no. 1 (January 1971), pp.

Ryan, Leonard James, and Bernard Ryan Jr. So You Want to
Go Into Journalism. New York: Harper and Row,

Smith, Rea W. "Public Relations, a Growing Field," Business
World, Spring 1974, pp. 8-9.

S"Women in Public Relations," Public Relations
Journal, vol. 24, no. 10 (October 1968), pp. 26-29.

Steinberg, Charles. The Mass Communicators. New York:
Harper Brothers, 1958.

U.S. Department of Labor. Equal Pay Under Fair Labor
Standards Act, Publication 1179, August 1970.

SWhy Not Be a Public-Relations Worker? Wash-
ington, D.C.: USGPO, 1970.

U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administra-
tion, Women's Bureau. Twenty Facts on Women Wor-
kers. Washington, D.C.

Weber, Virginia Gibbs, and Walter W. Seifert. "National
Survey Explores Role of Women in Public Relations,"
Public Relations Journal, vol. 22, no. 8 (July
1966), pp. 33-34.



307-301 South West 16th Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601
January 24, 1975

Dear Ms.

I am a graduate student at the University of Florida, working on a
Master's degree in communications. My main interest (and Bachelor's
degree) is in the area of public relations.

My thesis is going to explore the role of women in public relations.
This survey (one of 265 sent to female members of the Public Rela-
tions Society of America) is the most critical part of my work. It
should take only a few minutes to complete. Your cooperation will
be invaluable to me. Enclosed is a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Please return the questionnaire to me just as soon as possible.

All results will be discussed in general terms. No names will ever
be used.

I am very much looking forward to your response. Thank you so much
for your time and assistance!


Lynne S. Farber


A/O ^/7S

crte ~e~

~c~u Lc~cee6tcaeo~

/L~PLc~V ed~u~L;e~L-u~ .


The following questionnaire is designed to find
out about the role of women in public relations in 1975.
Little is written on the topic, and the purpose of this
study is to provide such information. Please check the
appropriate response or write in your own response where
choices are not given.



COMPANY (Please specify if you are self-employed.)


Under 2 yrs

2-5 yrs

5-10 yrs

Over 10 yrs


High school



Public Relations



Other (Please specify.)




Under 25
Over 50









$0-6,999 $7,000-10,999 $11,000-13,999
$16,000-20,000 Over $20,000


Business or sales Radio Television Editing
Magazine work Comment on your experience:

Is an asset Is a hindrance Has no effect

Yes No Comments:

Yes No Why or why not?

Yes No

Yes No If yes, are they under 16 yrs of age? Yes No









I think it is an excellent field for women. Many

women members of PRSA hold positions of prominence. Don't
trade on your femininity, but don't ever lose it; it is
an asset but can't substitute for competence.

I feel the profession of public relations is an
exciting field that offers ever-changing challenges to
those who choose to make it their career.

Get newspaper or TV experience before entering PR:
provides more credibility in dealing with news media, helps
to develop understanding on your part. Learn everything

you can about your field: photography, graphics, printing
especially, and now electronics media. Develop good public
speaking ability. Develop good professional contacts ..
Insist you be treated as a professional PR person: neither
as a male or female.

The important thing is to set goals and plan for
your career advancement.

I have also found that looks count. Appearance is
very important and I don't just mean clean and neat, but
rather attractive. Competition is strong, and one must

watch her weight, complexion, and clothes which runs into

Hard work, dedication, a pleasant demeanor plus a
thorough understanding of the profession. Generally
speaking, the public has little or no idea of public-
relations work in concept.

Do not accept a job as a secretary on the chance
that this will get you in and you'll have a better shot at

moving into a professional job. This is a fallacy. If
you're prepared and trained, don't settle for less than a
man would take.

Learn advertising as well as public relations.
One cannot exist without the other.

She should make up her mind at the outset that she
will have to work twice as many hours, run twice as many
miles, smile a thousand more smiles, and speak up with
studied conviction when she disagrees, as her male
counterpart would.

There are always those who challenge or resist a
woman in authority. But continuing a policy of honesty
as well as staying one-step ahead can only breed respect

and good relations in the long run. One doesn't need to
flaunt the women's-lib movement. Actions speak as well.

Stop wasting time being self-conscious about being
a woman and get on with the job of doing the best you can
to excel in your chosen career.

Join PRSA.

Know your job.

While people in other professions are willing to
accept me as a professional, many men in public relations
are not comfortable working with a woman and often are

Personally, I disliked my work in public relations
and would not recommend it unless the woman wanted to feel
like a puppet.

I think five years ago it took longer to achieve
status and salary than today.

PR is definitely an area where women can and do


Aim high. Learn to listen. Maintain integrity.

Learn to write.

Be a lady, be proud of your womanhood, prepare

yourself professionally, be a professional, and be pre-

pared to work!

You've got to make your own opportunities. Don't

wait for good things to happen, because they don't.


Lynne S. Farber was born in Albany, New York, in

1952. She moved with her parents to Miami in 1953 and

lived there until she was eighteen years old.

At that time she moved to Gainesville, Florida,

to attend the University of Florida. She received her

Bachelor's degree in journalism in June 1974, specializing

in public relations. She remained at the University of

Florida until June 1975 while working on her Master's

degree in Journalism and Communications.

I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is 'fully adequate, in scppe and quality,
as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Journalism
and Communications.

Glenn Butler, Chairman
Associate Professor of Journalism
and Communications

I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in Journalism
and Communications.

William Purkey
Professor of Education

This thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the
College of Journalism and Communications and to the Graduate
Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the re-
quirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Journalism
and Communications.

June 1975

hn Paul Jones
Dean, College of Journalism and

H. H. Sisler
Dean, Graduate School

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs