PR Pioneer: Muriel Fox (1928-Present)
The Institute for Public Relations
IPR has partnered with The Museum of Public Relations to feature some of the many female PR Pioneers in celebration of Women's History Month

Muriel Fox is a feminist trailblazer in the public relations industry. Fox started her career as a copywriter for Sears Roebuck in New York and soon after moved to Miami where she headed the re-election campaign of U.S. Senator Claude Pepper. She also helped to elect Miami Mayor William Wolfarth in 1949.

Fox then made the next big step in her career by applying to the largest public relations agency, Carl Byoir and Associates, only to be told "we don't hire women writers." Regardless, she persisted and by 1956, became the youngest vice president of the company.

Following her promotion to vice president, Fox was told that she had progressed as far as possible. This led her to co-found the National Organization for Women (NOW), an organization that changed the landscape for women in business. Fox held many executive roles at NOW after its founding, and is also an active advocate for women's rights through other organizations such as Veteran Feminists of America.

Read more about Muriel Fox to learn about her groundbreaking contributions for women in the field of public relations.
Painting a Picture of the U.S. Military: Lessons from Public Affairs Officers
Kaye Sweetser, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA, Professor, San Diego State University
This blog is based on the original article in the Public Relations Journal. The Public Relations Journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal presented by the Institute for Public Relations and the Public Relations Society of America.

Have you ever flown in the cockpit of a military jet on some super-secret military mission? Seen a sunset from the deck of an aircraft carrier at some undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean?

Considering that less than 0.05% of Americans are on active duty in the U.S. military right now, chances are slim you’ve done any of this.

And yet, when you read that first line I’m willing to bet you painted a picture in your head of the scenes described. Pull up that picture in your mind’s eye again – flying in a military jet or transiting through the ocean.

What shaped that image?

Beyond their primary role as conduits between the American public and the military, military public affairs officers often want to build relationships with entertainment stakeholders.

Read Dr. Sweetser's blog to learn about media effects of entertainment PR and how military public affairs officers use the media to build relationships.
Women Weigh In: How Companies Engage with Different Publics
Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, Ph.D., University of Houston; Hua Jiang, Ph.D., Syracuse University; Natalie T. J. Tindall, Ph.D., APR, Lamar University
This summary is provided by the IPR Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion based on the original journal article

Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, Ph.D., and colleagues explored how women's identities affect their reception of messages and decision-making behaviors. The report provides information for an intersectional approach to the segmentation of publics.

Interviews of 31 women of different racial, socioeconomic, age and relationship backgrounds were conducted to explore how they perceived their multiple, overlapping identities in terms of influence on their health decision making, specifically breast cancer screening.

Key findings include:
  • Publics experience co-occurring oppression and privilege in varying contexts. These contexts could include: 
  • Representations of certain publics
  • Policies that affect certain groups
  • Structures that enable or hinder certain individuals’ ability to improve their health
  • Communicators can predict some actions by a seemingly homogenous group, but it cannot determine the nuances in information seeking based on multiple identities.
  • Thus, communicators should contextualize publics within their lived structural, political, and representational intersectional experiences.
  • It is the social responsibility of campaign designers to respond to all publics' needs, particularly those experiencing disparities based on media and resource inaccessibility.

Read more to learn the steps communicators can take to include publics with intersecting identities.
Race in the Workplace: The Black Experience in the Private Sector
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company studied Black workers' participation in the entire U.S. private sector economy, and their representation, advancement, and experience in companies.

Researchers analyzed employment data from 24 companies as well as qualitative and quantitative research conducted with nearly 25,000 participants.  

The report identifies several common challenges that Black employees face:
  • Frontline jobs largely do not connect Black employees with sufficient opportunities to advance.
  • Due to this, 43% of Black workers earn less than $30,000 annually, compared to 29% of the rest of private sector employees.
  • Entry-level jobs are a revolving door for Black employees.
  • The "revolving door phenomenon" strongly correlates with the culture of inclusion and belonging, as well as the opportunity for advancement.
  • Black employees encounter a broken rung from entry-level jobs to managerial jobs.
  • Broken rungs are the obstacles on the promotion ladder that keep people from advancing.
  • At the executive level, a 2020 Lean In study found only 1.4% of Black women hold C-suite positions, while white men hold 68%.
  • A trust deficit exists between Black employees and their companies.
  • Compared to white employees, 23% fewer of Black employees said they receive "a lot" or "quite a bit" of support to advance to a higher position.
  • Black employees lack the sponsorship and allyship to support their advancement.
Read more to learn about the Black experience in the U.S. private sector and see key actions that companies can take to accelerate progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
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