Black and Afro-Latinx women in public relations: a collaborative autoethnography on the construction of intersectional identities in the workplace
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[EMBARGOED UNTIL 6/1/2023] Public relations is considered a feminized industry with women making up nearly 70 percent of its workforce. However, women only fill 30 percent of the top leadership roles (Angela Chitkara, 2018) and sufficient representation from Black women is lacking among the ranks. To better understand how race, gender, and class intersect in Black and Afro-Latina women PR practitioners' workplace experiences, this study used intersectionality theory as a lens of analysis. Using a collaborative autoethnographic approach, weekly reflections and in-depth interviews were conducted with six Black women working in the public relations profession. Participants noted how their race, gender and class status have shaped how they display their identities in the workplace, campaigns they are assigned to, and opportunities for career advancement in the future. The findings resulted in three major themes: structural and social inequalities, hypervisibility and invisibility, and representation. Findings revealed Black and Afro-Latinx women were being assigned to projects that aligned with their race, gender, or ethnicity and were being unequally paid for their workload. The findings also indicated that many of the participants lacked access to formal networking and mentoring opportunities or were considered for promotions despite their performance. Lastly, the findings revealed an overall lack of representation has shaped their perception of upward mobility and leadership. However, the participants expressed that where there is a gap in representation, they can strive to fill it. Ultimately, this study has fulfilled the need for more research regarding the understudied topic of non-White or Caucasian races and ethnicities outside the realm of gender relations (Vardeman-Winter et al, 2013).