Gender in PR – Why is the industry pre-dominantly female?

During the past 30 years, research has shown there has been an influx of women entering the PR industry, to the extent that some industry professionals and theorists consider it a feminized profession. Enrolment in post-secondary public relations programs have a much higher ratio of women compared to men, and 70 per cent of those entering the workforce for the first time within the communications industry are women. 

KwantlenPolytechnic University PR faculty member Amelia Kennedy is exploring this notion and conducting research as part of her Master’s Degree program through the University of Leicester in the UK to determine whether this is the case in British Columbia. Her dissertation will address gender communication and why the public relations industry is predominately female. The study will focus on qualities “traditionally” seen as feminine, gender and different communication styles, enrolment in post-secondary public relations programs and the disproportionate number of women employed in the industry across different sectors.
“As a faculty member, I have always been intrigued by the limited number of males who are enrolling in public relations programs,” says Kennedy. “Coupled with my interest in gender differences and communication styles, I thought that exploring this further would be an interesting topic for my dissertation.”

The aim of Kennedy’s study is to subject a number of university students and current PR industry professionals to both qualitative and quantitative research methods to determine why more women than men enrol in post-secondary public relations programs and enter the public relations industry. She will attempt to determine if the more “traditional” qualities ascribed to men and women hinder students to apply to programs and affect the decision making process that would lead to a career in public relations. Gender communication and different communication styles will be explored in order to gauge whether or not the industry is a feminized profession and if so, why? Does this lead to a disproportionate number of women in the industry?

Kennedy is looking for students and industry professionals to take part in a short survey, two to three minutes in duration, that will assist her in her research.

PR Industry Professionals
PR Students


If you are interested in becoming involved in this study or have any insight you would like to share, please email Amelia at [email protected]