Diversity Issues within Public Relations

Inclusion and diversity has become a very huge topic in the United States. Most people when they hear the word diversity ususally only assume race between blacks and whites or other races. What people forgot or maybe do not realize that when you talk about diversity, you have to include gender, religion, political standings, sexual identities and many other things. This means that there are potentially a lot of different people who may not have the opportunity to be included. With the United States becoming so diverse, it is definitely important that we get more diversity into public relations. It is really common sense because people tend to respond better when they are in a mixed group or at least have another person that is like them that they acn relate to. From a PR standpoint, say you are dealing with underpriveledge kids. These kids will most likely be able to relate better to someone who was once like them, maybe a minority who became successful, instead of listening to a wealthy caucassian or another race with someone who has never lived like them. Diversity clearly plays a big role. Diversity can also help offer different viewpoints in many things that we may not otherwise think about.

Public relations has seen an increase in diversity within the field. According to a 2010 Census, of PRSA’s 22,000 professional memebers, 14% of the membership identified themselves as Black, hispanic, or Asian, which would be 2 times more than 2005. With that being said, if you do the math that means that there are only 3,080 minority(by race) members and 18,920 white members. According to the Journal OF PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH, between the years of 2055 and 2060 the majority of all people in the United States will be Latino, Black, and Asian. This means that these groups are strongly under respresented. Another problem is how much women get paid in PR. Women are the majority in the public relations practice (Hazleton & Sha, 2012) and they are underpaid compared to how much their male counterparts make even though many of the women have better qualifications and more experience in PR. This definitely can also hurt diversity in the field because people will not want to continue to join the field if they are underpaid and discriminated against.

In the end, diversity is an issue within many fields in the United States and I guess compared to how things used to be, it is all starting to become better, but is still a problem. Gaining more diversity within the Public Relations field will be very important in all aspects especially now when we live in a society where so many things are becoming accepted that used to not be. It is important that we keep finding ways to move forward and hopefully diversity will continue to move forward.


1. Dr. Bey-Ling Sha. “Diversity in Public Relations: Special Issue Editor’s Note” PRSA., June 17, 2013

2.Dozier, D. M., Sha, B.-L., & Shen, H. (2013). Why women earn less than men: The cost of gender discrimination in U.S. public relations. Public Relations Journal, 7(1), 1-21.

Copyright © 2000, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.


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