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PR Women with Influence

Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges


Juan Meng and Marlene S. Neill

PR Women with Influence: Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges makes a unique and timely contribution by exploring how women in public relations navigate through attitudinal, structural and social barriers in advancing their leadership roles. The book is thoroughly grounded in rich empirical evidence gained through two phases of a funded research project conducted in the field. Phase I involves 51 in-depth interviews with current female leaders in public relations and Phase II captures women’s perceptions on gender-related barriers in leadership advancement by recruiting a national panel of female public relations professionals. 

Results presented in this book provide a compelling, current picture of women and leadership in public relations. By emphasizing our discussion on key issues and barriers as related to women in PR and their leadership advancement, the authors call for real actions and change to develop a constructive ecosystem within the organization to embrace leadership for women in PR. 

Given its sharp topic focus, wealth of empirical data, and the relevance of the topic to today’s public relations profession, this book is suitable for different audiences both nationally and globally. Such audiences include but are not limited to public relations scholars, educators and professionals, both leaders and emerging leaders, men and women, young professionals, women of color, and public relations majors. This book is appropriate for senior-level undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations and communication management to facilitate critical thinking, leadership development, and gender-related topic discussion. 

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Chapter Six Balancing Professional and Family Responsibilities



Balancing Professional and Family Responsibilities

The Roles of Instrumental Support and Mentoring


Women’s social movement has brought changes in social acceptance and changing perceptions of gender equality in the workplace in the past decades (Koch, Luft & Kruse, 2005). With the achievement of educational parity and changes in social attitudes towards men’s and women’s roles, we have seen continuous labor force participation driven by women (Jones, 2005). Women’s increasing participation in the labor force has become a primary dynamic to witness the rise of dual-earner couples in reality and women’s earnings have become an essential part of household income. Such change in the U.S. workforce also brings rapid changes to family life and structure. In a most recent Pew Research Center report (2015), two-parent households with one stay-home mother have grown much less common since 1970. As more women have entered the workforce, the share of two-parent households in which both parents are working full time made up 46% of the households in the United States (Patten, 2015).

With the rise of dual-earner couples, the challenges to balance professional and family responsibilities are more intense. According to a recent featured report in Harvard Business Review, partners in dual-career couples are highly educated and both of them work full-time in demanding professional or managerial jobs. They also have a strong desire to “see themselves on an upward path in their roles” (Petriglieri, 2019, p. 45). For partners in a...

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