Different Lenses: Women's Feminist and Postfeminist Perspectives in Public Relations / Diferentes Lentes sobre Perspectivas Feministas e Pós-feministas das Mulheres em Relações Públicas


  • Liz Yeomans Leeds Beckett University
  • Fabiana Gondim Mariutti CAPES Brasil and Leeds Beckett University (famariutti@yahoo.com.br)



Palabras clave:

gender-gap, feminist theoretical positions, postfeminism, radical feminism, liberal feminism, practitioner narratives.


Gender inequalities in public relations (PR) persist. Industry researchwithin the UK reveals a gender pay-gap, which shows significant disparities inpay between men and women (CIPR, 2015; PRCA, 2016). Feminist research, mostly undertaken in the US over the past twenty years and adopting a liberal feministperspective, has identified some of the factors that influence inequality forwomen, such as balancing career and family; while other studies examine thesocial processes that perpetuate inequalities, such as gender stereotyping, the ‘glass ceiling’ effect and the ‘friendliness trap’. Liberalfeminism is critiqued for not recognizing gender regimes. This has led to callsfor critical research to examine the underlying social processes in the PR field that influenceposition opportunities, roles, the pay-gap and discrimination. Three theoretical positions – liberal feminist, radical feminist andpostfeminist - were selected to address the following research questions, ‘How does gender influence everyday practice in public relations?’ ‘Whichfeminist perspective(s) are suggested by practitioner narratives?’ Postfeminism, used as a critical lens, potentially enables ‘multiple feminisms and femininities’ (Lewis, 2014) to be expressed. For this paper, anexploratory, qualitative pilot study involved semi-structured interviews withfour female PR practitioners in northern England. Transcripts were analyzedusing narrative analysis and reflexivity. The narratives revealed complex and sometimes contradictoryinterpretations. Therefore while three out of the four narratives showed strongliberal feminist inclinations, including a belief that women are able tocompete alongside men, two also expressed radical feminist orientations;although in line with previous research, not a desire to change the system,except on an individual level. A fourth narrative expressed ideas consistentwith postfeminism, demonstrating an apparent acceptance of gender rolesegregation in PR, and therefore no inclination to change the status quo. Finally, we offer further ways of advancing critical feminist studies inpublic relations, through research and education.


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Biografía del autor/a

Liz Yeomans, Leeds Beckett University

Dr. Liz Yeomans is the Principal Lecturer Public Relations and Journalism Subject Area at Leeds Business School at Leeds Beckett University. Liz teaches research methods, the social psychology of communication and employee communication. Her work has been published in public relations and communication journals, and she is co-editor of the popular international book Exploring Public Relations. She is currently working on a research monograph which develops her doctoral work drawing on gender and emotional labour theories. Previously she worked in communication management positions for British central and local government.

Fabiana Gondim Mariutti, CAPES Brasil and Leeds Beckett University (famariutti@yahoo.com.br)

Fabiana is a last year PhD candidate and a Part-Time Lecturer at Leeds Business School at Leeds Beckett University. She has CAPES Brasil Research Grant from the Ministry of Education by the Federal Government of Brazil. She has worked in business communication, marketing, branding, and public relations for twenty-two years. She holds a Master in Sciences: Business at University of São Paulo, Campus FEA-Ribeirão Preto, SP, a Specialization degree in Business at Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado, Campus Ribeirão Preto, SP, and a Bachelor degree in Communication: Public Relations at Pontificia Universidade Católica de Campinas, SP, Brazil.


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Cómo citar

Yeomans, L., & Mariutti, F. G. (2016). Different Lenses: Women’s Feminist and Postfeminist Perspectives in Public Relations / Diferentes Lentes sobre Perspectivas Feministas e Pós-feministas das Mulheres em Relações Públicas. Revista Internacional De Relaciones Públicas, 6(12), 85–106. https://doi.org/10.5783/revrrpp.v6i12.430