Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

A Taken for Granted and Unpaid Daily Labour of Northern Nigerian Women

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

A Taken for Granted and Unpaid Daily Labour of Northern Nigerian Women

Article excerpt

Women in Northern Nigeria, apart from their universal role of pregnancy, childbearing and childrearing, also engage in various household chores, which made them to act as housemaids, cleaners, daycare centers, teachers and wives, all at the same time. This article explains how all these happens to be a reality, and argue that they were not paid for all these labour, and in fact, all of these were simply taken for granted, not only by their husbands, but even by the modern economic analysis.

INTRODUCTION

Modern economy in general and Nigerian economy in particular has only taken the cognizance and sees the importance of the labour of women that were employed in government offices or private organizations, to the extent that their contribution to the economic growth and development of their respective societies has fully been recognized. Unlike the female workers in the civil service or private organizations, the women in purdah or full time housewives' contribution to the economy has been relegated to the lowest level, to the extent that their contribution to the economic growth and development of their respective societies is equivalent to nothing or zero.

Nevertheless, this attitude should not prevent us from studying their contributions, and sufferings for the economic development of their respective countries, so that we can see and judge by ourselves what the actual reality is and perhaps some policies might be geared towards rewarding them for their gigantic contribution to the economy.

The aim of this article is to show the magnanimous contributions and sacrifice of northern Nigerian women to the economic growth and development of their country, and highlight the importance of their contribution which some women themselves relegated to the background.

To achieve this objective, the paper is divided into five sections, with this introduction being the first. The second section will show some universal, magnanimous, gigantic and un-imitated or un-emulated contributions, which they make to the economic growth and development. A taken for granted and unpaid daily labour of northern Nigerian women will be discussed in section three. Section four will make a critical appraisal of sections two and three, and finally, section five concludes the study.

SOME UNIVERSAL AND UNCOMPARABLE WOMEN'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MODERN ECONOMY

Nature has provided women with some physical features and characteristics that paved the way for them to perform some functions that are absolutely beyond men and that cannot in anyway be comparable with any work that is done or performed by men. In fact, women have the total monopoly to these forms of labour (works). These functions are no more than the production and reproduction of human beings. In spite of the fact that no human being can be born scientifically by a single man or woman, yet, there are other unique functions that can be performed by women only, and only women. These are pregnancy, childbearing and childrearing.

Pregnancy as defined by Hornby (2001, p. 915) "is a situation whereby a woman is having a baby developing inside her womb". In most cases many women experience different types of sicknesses during pregnancy, which include among others headaches, dizziness, vomiting, leg pains, and many other pains. Sometimes, the situation continues until giving birth. Childbirth or child bearing on the other hand, according to Hornby (2001, p. 118) "is the process of giving birth to a baby". It also has its own complications and sometimes even leads to death. Maternity or child rearing as far as Hornby (2001, p. 727) is concerned "is the state of being a mother". Now the baby has already been born, who also happens to be in a fragile condition. Thus, it is highly in need of a proper care for at least a year and a half when the baby is weaned.

These are the process of human production and reproduction, which the women engage most frequently. …

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