Photo of Dr Helen Thompson-Whiteside at her graduation ceremony

Prize winner Dr Helen Thompson-Whiteside graduated last week

29 July 2021

5 min read

A PHD graduate from the University of Portsmouth has been awarded a prize for academic excellence for the impact her thesis has had in addressing issues of gender and inclusion in the marketing industry. 

Dr Helen Thompson-Whiteside - who graduated last week - was awarded by The Worshipful Company of Marketors

Her thesis ‘Sisters are doing it for themselves: An exploration of the self-promotion women undertake as they seek professional advancement’ found that working women are becoming more adept at promoting themselves, but societal contexts still limit their progress. 

Dr Thompson-Whiteside, Senior Lecturer in the Portsmouth Business School, said: “Despite the increased visibility of gender issues, it appears that the communities of practice and societal contexts in which women seek professional advancement, continue to produce and reproduce beliefs and practices which are problematic for women and limit their progress.

“I’m thrilled that my research on this has been recognised and its impact is resonating with industry.”

Dr Thompson-Whiteside’s research captured the experiences of women to enable their voices to be heard. 

I’m thrilled that my research on this has been recognised and its impact is resonating with industry

Dr Helen Thompson-Whiteside , Senior Lecturer, Portsmouth Business School

She said: “Prior studies have suggested women are reluctant to promote their accomplishments and skills, preferring their work to speak for itself, but my research showed that women are indeed active and innovative in self-promotion and are leveraging promotional tools to expose the gendered practices they encounter within the workplace. 

“However, this self-promotional work causes women stress, and sadly often invokes a negative reaction from others.

“Women are already doing much to advance themselves, but how many more might progress if we address the imperfect conditions in which women are working? I hope my thesis goes some way to shining a light on this important question.”

Dr Helen Thompson-Whiteside was awarded £500 for outstanding performance in marketing by The Worshipful Company of Marketors, an organisation that believes in the power of marketing to deliver economic and social good and encourages excellence in marketing education and practice. 

Her supervisor, Dr Sarah Turnbull also received an award of £500 towards research funds.