Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Barbara K. Petersen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Paige-Werder, Ph.D

Committee Member

Daniel Bagley, Ph.D


gender, diversity, public relations roles, glass ceiling


Public relations is one of the fastest growing majors chosen by college students throughout the United States, and most of these students are women. This thesis attempts to define the important role that women play in the practice of public relations and to determine why female students choose this major as their desired field of study more often then men. There is a need for such a study because in 1996 women accounted for only 37 percent of managers in marketing, advertising, and public relations, although they comprised 62 percent of all public relations specialists in this country. This research study seeks to outline the arguments for and against gender diversity efforts, within public relations practice, and to examine the motivations female college students may have for entering such a tumultuous field. To accomplish this purpose, this study will also borrow from established research in academic interest and career development in general.