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THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN GENDER CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN NIGERIAN ORGANISATION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Gender conflict in Nigerian organisation has been on the increase, since women intensified the campaign for the gender equality inNigeria. The crusade to actualize the universal declaration on Human Rights, African Chatter on Human and peoples rights and the convention on elimination of all form of discrimination against women participation in public life and in decision making processes has increased in recent times.
In the African context, women are not to be heard. However, the present economic realties all over the world have made it imperative for women to seek paid employment or be involved in various businesses to supplement the dwindling disposable income of their traditional role of tending to their families (i.e., rearing children is fast becoming out-modes. Despite the increasing role of women in today’s family as cobreadivinners a lot of discrimination still exist against women, which hinders the optimal participation of women in public life and decision making process. Women are discriminated against when it comes to employment both in public and private sectors of the economy.
Discrimination and the feeling of marginalization remains the greatest source of gender conflict in Nigerian organisation.
The get pregnant and get sacked policy of banks and several companies in Nigerian organizations is illustrative enough.
This policy hinders the employment of women who are having babies into the banking sub-sectors. It also stipulates that a female employee must have worked for three years before being entitled to maternity leave.
Some organisation makes it compulsory for female employees space their childbirth period between three to four years. Many women have been summarily dismissed from work on the grounds of pregnancy.
In Nigeria, a women police Officer can be allowed to marry if she has served in the force for a period of not less than three years not only this, she must apply in writing to the Commissioner of Police giving the name address and occupation of the person she intends to marry. This implies that if the policy does not find the man worthy in character, the woman must either wait for another man and remain in the force or marry him and get dismissed. (Nigerian Policy Regulation 124).
In 1992, a bill expelling all unmarried women in and preventing their employments into Kastina State House of Assembly was enacted through the State Governor did not sign the bill into law. Nevertheless some over zealous officials in some local government started enforcing it, (Effah, 1995).
Sexual harassment at work place has remained another serious source of gender conflict in organisation. Inherent in sexual harassment is a power relationship. It is often used as a means of executing and maintaining power over women in the work place, (Effah, 1995). There is no clear-cut definition of sexual harassment. It varies according to societal perception and circumstance. Also hundred of female employees are daily subjected to various forms of sexual harassment at the work place.
The harassment of female subordinate by their male bosses, has lead to the women either succumbing and missing a promotion (the lucky ones) or losing their jobs entirely. Sexual harassment could be physical or verbal, deliberate or incidental. In recognition of the existence of sexual harassment at work, theKwaraStatesometimes ago set up a State Sexual Harassment Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Education,Ilorinto address the issue (Hassana, 1992). Attempts by the Nigerian Women to expand, this role and actualize the limited Nations declarations on women and change breed conflict in various organisation. The attempt is manifested in many ways. The manifestations are seen mostly in the number of non-government organization fully initiated by women or are subsets of professional bodies. Very vocal among this women group are the Nigerian Women in Journalism (NAWJ), Nigerian Women Lawyers (FIDAL), association of Women Engineers, Society of Women Accountant of Nigeria (SWAN) and the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), the umbrella organisation of all women in Nigerian.
The interest in this study is the gender related conflicts in labour, equality and discrimination in Nigerian organizations and the role of public relations in resolving such conflicts. Olawpa (1993:5) rightly said, “when there is basic agreement on issues and interest in society or organisation, then the basis for resolving conflicts through consensus is in place. For a society to remain healthy enduring and stable conflicts must be resolved through consensus or put differently. There must be a balance between conflicts and consensus.
Mba (1998:302), noted that each of us has the right not only to his or her point of view but also to different point of views. We are all conditioned by different cultural psychological, physical and information frames of references. As the world grows more populated and more complicated, the variety of point of views multiplies and difficulty in achieving agreement on the truth increases. Because it is increasingly difficult to get one’s point of view, expressed in mass society, experts and specialist have come into existence to aid that process. In fact, the profession has developed to provide council on communication between parties with differing perceptions, differing languages and differing cultures that profession has become know as public relations.
Public Relations is aimed at relating one public to another through effective and efficient communication. Its techniques provide ways to relationship between individuals and groups with different point of views, especially when those differences can lead to misunderstanding, disagreement or even hostility.
Public Relations takes the views of one group and restructure it or translate it so that another group can understand it. It is devoted to getting others to see the world as one sees it. It systematized the persuasive efforts of individuals and organisation. Conflicts in organisation inflict great harm to their goals, hence the desire for effective means of resolving them. The research seeks to X-ray public relations in its role as an instrument of resolving gender related conflict in organisation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Conflicts seem to be inherent in man that is why economist concluded centuries ago that human wants are insatiable. Another school of thought on conflict has it to say that and individual can at time be in conflict with himself let alone with his neighbours. This explains why the society cannot be conflict free. Be as it may, our world has remained a world of conflicts ranging from crime, conflicts, economic conflict to natural crisis. However, a new conflict emerged from 1954 when the United Nations Organized the first conflicts on the rights of women. The result was the adoption of gender equality. United Nations and Government made Convention around the world. With this, came gender equality struggle and eventually, the concept of women empowerment and subsequent gender conflict in organisation.
This conflict is a by-product of on-going struggle between men and women on either side to control, direct and distribute resources in government, business and work place, even in religious circle. The Pupils United Nations World Conference on women and by women ended inChina. Among many is the demand for affirmative action requiring that every 30% of every elective and appointive position must be reserved for women. Nigerian Women were part of the Beijing Conference, which has increase gender conflict in Nigerian organisation.
Suffice it to say that here that, gender crusaders have increased public relations activities since conflicts have been on the increase in recent times. Most probably aimed at restructuring or translating the new point of gender equality to be understood by the male gender.
AfterBeijingconference, how is theNigeriawomen, paring? Is power sharing the need of our women now? Are they truly ready for it now? What is the source of gender conflict in Nigerian organisation?
Have women not been opportune to contribute? The women appear to be divided on how to go about the celebration ofBeijingbody.
The Ministry of Women Affairs is with us. A man is the permanent Secretary. Is that not conflict right in the women’s exclusive enclave? All these needed much to be desired. The need to attempt unmask, the monster behind gender conflicts in Nigerian organisation has become overwhelming.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To find out the opinion of various classes of women on the issue of gender conflicts.
2. To find out the influence of gender equality campaign on life of Nigerian women in organisation.
3. To ascertain whether or not women are being discriminated against implicitly or explicitly inNigeriaorganisation.
4. To find out the major cases of gender conflicts inNigeriaorganisation.
5. To find out public relations roles in resolving gender conflicts in organisation.
6. To research and then come out with a well analytical result of the role of public relations particularly in Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Women liberations inNigeriaare of the views that if women were given equal opportunity in decision making both in organizations and politics, the fortunes of Nigerians would be enhanced.
Public relations activities could influence the formation of opinion and corresponding change in public attitude. Subsequently, access to power and share of organisation resources between male and female members of the organisation give rise to gender conflict therein. Women therefore, are demanding for change for equality between genders. To this end a way out is via public relations.
The result of the study would help to facilitate an acceptable decision on the much orchestrated gender issues. Either to make Nigeria society re-appraise its norms and cultural values, or to allow women 50-50 participation or more than that or to help the women redefine their role in changing world or to better help Nigeria know how to utilize her women resources fully.
The out come would helpNigeriaharmonize the human resource that are ideal and those energies been dissipated in the prosecution of gender struggle.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research would attempt to answer these questions:
1) Does gender conflict affects the prospects of Nigerian organisation?
2) Who is the “Plaintiff and the Defendant” in gender conflict inNigeriaorganisation?
3) Dopes public relations help in resolving gender conflicts in Nigerian organisation?
4) If gender equality is realized would it eliminate the conflicts?
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This work is intended to cover the role of public relations in gender conflicts resolution inNigeriaorganisation.
However, for the purpose of the study coupled with certain constraints, this work shall be focused on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA),Enugu.
The poor record keeping culture of theNigeriacoupled with the excessive officials secret syndrome, of public and private organisation almost frustrated the research.
“Not competent to volunteer, information syndrome” by public officials in civil services hindered ease of getting the much needed data for study. Also the reluctance of employees of private organizations to provide information did constrain the research information needed. The study is restricted to only one organisation inEnuguState. This has clearly limited the generalization of the result.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
GENDER CONFLICT : Conceptual definition the long bitter
struggle for quality and supremacy between men and women.
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION: The disagreement of Nigeria Women to
the imbalance in number of men and women and treatment in Government, Management of Bank UAC, NPC, and Media Houses etc. in Nigeria in relation to men.
NIGERIAORGANISATION Conceptually defined to mean organized
enterprise within the Nigerian states.
OPERATIONAL Any organized business by Nigerian Law
in Nigeria Government at all levels inNigeria, its agencies, the multi-international companies, profit or no profit. That employs both Nigerians and no Nigerians and exists in Nigerian.
Effah, J. (1995): Unequal Rights Discriminatory Law and Practices Against
Women in Nigeria (Lagos Constitutional Right, PROJECT)
Hassana, J. (1992): Women in Nigerian Economy. (Enugu; Agena
Mba, E. C. (1998): The Role of Women in Socio Cultural Development in
Nigeria. (Enugu: Maseon Press).
Nkwocha, J. (1996): War Without End. A Journalist’s Exposes on Life,
Money, Women, Power, Family and Sport. (Lagos: Zoom Lens Promotions).
Nwankwo, N. (1996): Gender Equality in Nigeria Politics. (Lagos: