Although 85 percent of public relations practitioners in the United States are women, 80 percent of top management in the field are male, according to numbers from the Public Relations Society of America, reported by Ragan.com yesterday. And, although females dominate the field, they also generally earn less than men.
"Any time a profession becomes feminized, salaries tend to become depressed and the status of the profession tends to go down," said Brenda Wrigley, chairwoman of the PR department at Syracuse University. She pointed to the nursing field as another example, the article noted.
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Women are drawn to PR because "entry-level skills match well with what they earn in educational areas with large representation of women, such as the humanities. Women have tended to be good at writing, presentation, event planning and technician skills," the article states.
As to why women are underrepresented at the top, the article noted that in 1970, only about 27 percent of PR practitioners were women. Debbie Mason, president of Florida's Strategists, Inc., told Ragan.com that in her experience, she "tended to be at least a decade younger than everybody else sitting around the senior management table. So how much of it was reflective of age and experience and how much of it was gender, in my personal situation, I would find it hard to split that fairly."