This study uses scholarly literature grounded in organizational communication theory, feminist perspectives and gender theory on the public relations industry to provide a theoretical framework for primary research conducted on both undergraduate public relations majors and public relations practitioners. Results from primary research (interviews with undergraduate students and a survey administered to public relations practitioners) reveals parallels and disconnects between student expectations and professional realities of the role gender plays in the public relations discipline.
To help foster diversity and reduce gendered stereotypes within undergraduate public relations programs and the public relations industry fresh, pedagogical recommendations are explored. Cameron, Lariscy, and Sweep (1992) found that education influences the way public relations is practiced. Thus, with pedagogical changes at the undergraduate level, there is hope for a rebalance of equal gender distribution for female practitioners at all professional levels, as well the capacity to provide more comprehensive and accurate images of the discipline.