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Women-only Networking in Public Relations: Discourse Analysis of the Entanglement of Barriers and Benefits

Keren Darmon (University of Greenwich, UK)

Women’s Work in Public Relations

ISBN: 978-1-80455-539-2, eISBN: 978-1-80455-538-5

Publication date: 25 March 2024


The PRCA December 2020 census tells us that, in the United Kingdom, the public relations (PR) industry continues to be predominantly female, with 68% of respondents ticking that box. It also highlights a ‘gender pay gap’ of 21%, an increase of 7% from March 2020 and states that ‘this can be explained by the fact that the respondents … are largely in senior roles which tend to be more male dominated’ (PRCA, 2020), thus demonstrating a leadership gap as well as a pay one. Both of the leading PR professional membership bodies in the United Kingdom – the PRCA and CIPR – acknowledge the gender pay and leadership gaps, made starker in an industry dominated by women, and have committed to tackle the disparity.

In this chapter, I build on Liz Yeomans' (2020) work, in which she suggests ‘new avenues for researching neoliberalism and postfeminism in PR’ (p. 44) to examine the ‘apparently progressive moves’ (Yeomans', 2020) by women's networking organisations. I analyse website texts from two women-only PR networking organisations – Women in PR and Global Women in PR – to explore the ways in which they construct their function, purpose and role, and to examine their position vis-à-vis the contemporary postfeminist media culture (Gill, 2007). The research takes a feminist, discourse analytic approach and sheds light on the reality of women in PR as constructed by organisations whose stated goal is to: ‘improve equality and diversity across the industry by increasing the number and diversity of women in leadership roles’ (Women in PR, 2022).




I would like to thank the editors, Liz Bridgen and Sarah Williams, for their solidarity and support during the process of compiling this book. Your empathy, patience and understanding are praiseworthy.


Darmon, K. (2024), "Women-only Networking in Public Relations: Discourse Analysis of the Entanglement of Barriers and Benefits", Bridgen, E. and Williams, S. (Ed.) Women’s Work in Public Relations, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 231-245.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024 Keren Darmon. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited