Call for abstracts (academic) DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 30 JULY 2021

We would like to invite you to submit a chapter abstract to:

*Women’s Work (in PR): An edited collection*

Liz Bridgen, Sheffield Hallam University
Sarah Williams, University of Wolverhampton

Submissions and  queries to be sent to:

This edited collection prioritises women’s experience and histories in the public relations workplace. The experience of women’s everyday lives in public relations roles across the world is often under recorded and while the body of knowledge of this area is growing, this collection aims to use academic writing and research as a way to further highlight, record, and understand the experience of a constitutive part of public relations that is usually unseen or hidden – that of the working lives of women in public relations roles across the world.

The aim of this edited collection is to demonstrate the breadth and range of feminist public relations study on women’s work, taking a step (or more) away from the management-based writing on public relations and towards a space where marginalised voices and the lived experiences of women at all stages in their career are considered and foregrounded.

Public relations defines itself as a strategic management function – that is how it wants to perceive itself, and that is how it wants others to see it. However, what this collection does is shift the gaze of public relations scholarship in order to forefront the women who ‘do’ this (and other) public relations activities both in the office and when placed in a domestic environment by COVID-19 restrictions. It places centre stage the experiences not just of the ‘typical’ young public relations professional but those who are often ignored in public relations research.  This can include older practitioners, freelancers, and those working in marginalised occupations (such as the sex industry and for ‘unethical’ causes such as tobacco) and those working in non-western countries.

But this book aims to be more than just the sum of women’s work in public relations; it also tells the story of the ‘backstage’ of public relations and the women who simply /get the job done/ and navigate the problems and contradictions in everyday life.

The ‘turn’ towards a more critical style of public relations scholarship over the last two decades has increased the number of articles, papers and book chapters exploring the experience of individuals in public relations but quantitative research dominates in key public relations journals and therefore overlooks individual experience or that which cannot be explained in numerical form – such as ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and difference.

Through developing this collection and inviting submissions we are not trying to be ‘objective’ and to present a totality of experiences of women’s experiences in public relations; something like that would be impossible anyway. We are simply looking to document and prioritise the experience of women working in public relations – either in their own right or through Tetreault’s (1985) multifocal lens where, through an exploration of the relationship between women and men, human experience is reconceptualised. Grunig (2006) developed this further suggesting there was an integrative phase in feminist research which acknowledged the holistic nature of women’s lives which can include work, childcare, caring for the elderly, community commitments, etc. and that is also an area which could be developed.

We envisage this collection as containing around 12 academic essays (chapters) of c. 3,000-6,000 words but within the format there would be room for some shorter practitioner stories (c. 300-1,000 words each) which explore practitioner personal experience and are written in the first person (see Call for submissions – practitioner stories) . No payment from authors/APC is required.

We would aim for 2023 publication.


Call for abstracts – issued April 2021

Deadline for abstracts – 30 July 2021
Please send abstracts to
Abstracts should be c.300 words

Decision on abstracts – by September 2021

Completed essays submitted to editors – April 2022

Comments to authors – July 2022

Revised essays submitted to editors September 2022

Book MS delivered to publishers – Winter 2022/3

Publication – 2023

Potential themes – these are not designed to provide a limitation but are for inspiration

  • Communicating COVID-19 – the role of the communicator and pressures experienced
  • Working during a national lockdown: combining work and domestic roles
  • Forty years on from the Velvet Ghetto report
  • Race and identity
  • Women’s work in public relations in specific countries/international voices
  • Women’s work in particular disciplines, e.g. internal comms, financial PR, etc.
  • Diversity and public relations
  • Exploitation in the workplace
  • Online behaviours
  • #MeToo and male behaviours
  • Female opposition and activism in the workplace
  • Belittling of the experience of women’s work in PR and opposition to it
  • Marginalisation of women in the workplace
  • The experience of older women in the workplace
  • Experience of young professionals
  • Freelancing and women-only companies
  • Flexible working
  • Experiences of graduates/work placements
  • Class and gender
  • Women in PR in fiction / the arts / TV / film
  • Women in PR academia
  • Women working in marginalised occupations (e.g. sex industry, tobacco, extremist politics)
  • Working women and childcare/caring