The Traumatic Experiences and Psychological Health of Women Working in Two Male-Dominated Professions in Nigeria

Article excerpt

The study examined the traumatic experiences and psychological health of women working in male-dominated professions. Their reported traumatic experiences and psychological health were compared with those of women working in female-dominated professions and men in male dominated processions. Samples of 200 women working in male-dominated professions (WMDP), 180 women working in women-dominated profession (WWDP) and 105 men working in male-dominated professions (MMDP) responded to Awaritefe Psychological Index (API) (Form C) and a Traumatic Experience Questionnaire (TEQ). The data-set was analysed electronically through SPSS. The formulated hypotheses were tested by t-Test for independent groups. The reported traumatic experiences of the WMDP are jail breaks, riot by prison inmates, sight of torture, resistance to arrest by criminals, traffic controlling, sexual harassment, social discrimination, role conflict, negative attitude and envy from male colleagues of the same. The WMDP experienced significantly more trauma than both WWDP and MMDP. WMDP manifested significantly higher level of general Psychopathology than WWDP. No significant difference was observed in the levels of general Psychopathology of WMDP and MMDP. Findings were discussed and appropriate recommendations were put forward.

Key Words: Traumatic experiences, Psychological health, women, male dominated professions, Nigeria,

INTRODUCTION

The past decades have witnessed a swift in gender composition of the work-force (Fayankinu, 2003a; Powell, 1999). The number of women gaining employment into male dominated profession is on the increase (Fayankinnu, 2003a; Aina, 1996; Awe, 1990). This is often in addition to their traditional roles as housewives. Yet the general status of women in the work place has not changed as majority working women in male dominated professions are still faced with numerous Stressors that may have implication for various forms of role conflicts and work burden that adversely affect the health of such women (Onyeonoru and Fayankinnu, 2001).

The structure of male dominated jobs makes it difficult for women in these professions to effectively combine domestic roles and career. This is partly due to the fact that the responsibilities assigned to them are culturally prescribed roles of male employees (Ranson, 1998; Akinnawo, 1996).

Most traditional societies consider the job of policing or hunting to be exclusively reserved for men. This sex-type prejudice had influenced the perception of most people in our society, even up to this 21st century. This is reflective of most people belief that the Police Force, Army, Navy and Prison Services are not meant for women while men are not expected to be in nursing profession or rendering secretariat services. In addition to the occupational Stressors in these stereotyped professions, the individuals' perception of their occupation, including the administrative policies and the public image is a good determinant of their job attitude and psychological well being (Ranson, 1998; Marshall, 1990), (Akinnawo, 1999)

Effects of occupational hazards and Stressors on the mental health status of workers had long been one of the major concerns of occupational psychologists (Steal and Headier, 1994). Gender issues in organizational management, particularly 'gender balance' are current phenomenon in the field of organizational management. Some of the benefits of this phenomenon are highlighted by Adeyemi (200) and Adams (1998). The psychopathological implications of this phenomenon are also a major interest in the field of occupational psychopathology (Lindsay, 2001; Akinnawo, 2010).

Studies in occupational psychopathology reveal that different jobs elicit different types of Stressors. These job-induced Stressors are referred to as occupational Stressors (Lester, 1998). Workers in different professions manifest different types and levels of occupational stress and psychopathology (Steals and Headier, 1994; Akinnawo, 1996). …