Women’s History Month: Women Who Made an Impact in PR
Public Relations

Women’s History Month: Women Who Made an Impact in PR

By D+P Interns

This Women’s History Month, it is a good time to appreciate and admire women pioneers in public relations who have left a lasting mark. These women confronted norms, challenged gender inequality and paved the way for future generations. Their contributions have not only transformed the outlook of public relations, but have empowered women to pursue their passions and stand up for change.

Picture of Barbara Hunter.

Photo: The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

Barbara Hunter

Barbara Hunter has the distinction of being the first woman to run her own PR agency, according to The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations located in Alabama. She was born in Westport, New York and received a B.A. from Cornell University. After graduating, Hunter worked as an account executive for Dudley-Anderson-Yutzy Public Relations in 1956 in New York City. She became co-owner of D-A-Y Public Relations in 1970, before selling the firm to open up her own agency, Hunter Public Relations, in 1989. Her career was marked by a number of milestones, including serving as the president of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 1980 and as the national president of PRSA in 1984. Recognized for her contributions, she was honored with PRSA’s prestigious Gold Anvil Award in 1993. Her long-lasting impact goes beyond her business success to encouraging the next generation of professionals.

Picture of Muriel Fox.

Photo: The Museum of Public Relations

Muriel Fox

When Muriel Fox sought out her first PR job, she was rejected from Carl Byoir & Associates, the largest PR agency in the world at the time, being told, “We don’t hire women writers.” This started her mission to challenge the injustice of gender inequality, eventually proving them wrong when she was later hired as a publicist in the agency’s radio-TV department. This moment marked the beginning of her revolutionary career, as she became the youngest vice president of the agency. Powered by her passion for justice, she co-founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) alongside Betty Friedan. With Fox’s commitment to strengthening gender equality and the power of women’s voices, she continues to inspire PR professionals.

Picture of Inez Y. Kaiser.

Photo: The Voice of Public Relations

Inez Y. Kaiser

Inez Y. Kaiser’s journey exemplifies determination and resilience that brought monumental achievements. She graduated from Pittsburg State University, pursuing a career in education before turning to PR and entrepreneurship. In 1957, she became the first Black woman in the United States to open a PR firm, Inez Kaiser & Associates. In downtown Kansas City she accumulated an array of clients, spanning from influential local entities such as Commerce Bank and Hallmark to corporations such as Lever Brothers and Sears. Kaiser’s long-lasting legacy is an indication of her tireless advocacy, brave spirit and revolutionary contribution to the field of PR.

Picture of Betsy Plank.

Photo: The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

Betsy Plank

Betsy Plank obtained her reputation as “The First Lady of Public Relations” through a succession of achievements that reshaped PR. Her career is full of firsts. She served as executive vice president and treasurer at Daniel J. Edelman, Inc. from 1960 to 1973. She made history in 1963 by becoming the first female president of the Publicity Club of Chicago and helped pave the way for the next generation of PR professionals through the creation of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) in 1967. As her career progressed, she continued to be a trailblazer through opportunities at AT&T, Illinois Bell and SBC Communications Inc.



D+P Interns

D+P Interns