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The professional status of female public relations practitioners in Rwandan public and private institutions: a manager's perspective
This study investigated the professional status of female public relations practitioners in Rwandan public and private institutions by using direct managers as a focal point to get their perspectives about their staff. The study used a structured questionnaire to get information from the managers in public relations or communication departments. While different authors such as Aldoory & Toth, (2002); Wilcox and Cameron (2006:35) and Hon (1995) indicate that the public relations industry is feminised to the extent of 70 percent, the results of this study present it otherwise. The findings reveal that the trend of feminisation in Rwandan public relations industry is not on the same speed as the one in the industry worldwide. This means that based on the findings from different studies worldwide, females are represented by a big number in the public relations industry than males do. Furthermore, there is a gender gap in terms of responsibilities whereby women are more clustered in technical tasks rather than managerial ones. Although Rwanda has opted to empower women in its reconstruction process, they are still affected by the legacies of indigenous culture in terms of stereotypes associated with them and salary gaps which shows that the promotion of a female professional continue to be a problem in some organisations. Considering the research results, the public relations industry in Rwanda is still a new field and hence its practitioners' professional status especially women is not well depicted. However, the results show that female practitioners are able to offer good services to their customers due to their innate caring character and professionalism. The results recommend that local high learning institutions should include public relations courses in their program to ensure long run availability of public relations professionals. In addition the Rwanda private sector is encouraged to open up public relations agencies which will contribute to the improvement of customer care in Rwanda. Finally, the researcher recommends that public relations activities should be well planned in organisations to avoid confusion with other related fields such as marketing, for instance. The researcher further recommends that advance studies should be conducted to engage in the evaluation of the implementation of gender promotion laws and its efforts in various organisations.