Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Work Schedule and Family Life of Married Women in the Nigerian Banking Industry: A Study of Selected Banks in Lagos

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Work Schedule and Family Life of Married Women in the Nigerian Banking Industry: A Study of Selected Banks in Lagos

Article excerpt

Issues around women labour force participation and the cultural constraints they face have been recurring subjects in policy and research agenda. In the present fast-paced societies, women's labour force participation permeates virtually all sectors, including the banking industiy. Empirical studies have revealed the development of financial institutions as a major factor driving modern economies (Akingunola, 1996; Durlauf, Johnson and Temple, 2005; Levine, 2005; Mirestean and Tsangarides, 2009). The Nigerian banking sector is no exception as it has witnessed overtime significant transformation in terms of structures, management techniques and regulatoiy environment. The changes were further exacerbated by the economic recession of the 1980s (Bankole, 1996). The bank licensing liberalization policy of 1980s led to the dramatic increase in number and competition among banking institutions while the negative impact of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) culminated in the distress in the industry that peaked in year 2000s.

The distress of more than sixty banks and the restructuring that ensued affected the management and staffers in different ways. The management's responses to the changes were diverse, including reengineering, rationalization of branches and business lines, increase working hours, staff education and retraining, and in many instances, retrenchment. Similarly, bank workers were affected by management reactions and became susceptible to stress. This is perhaps true in that the operational framework of the banks require the staff to resume early and close late, the introduction of weekend (Saturday) banking, while some of them are required to update themselves academically within a set time, which may include registration for weekend degree/diploma programmes.

These compulsive conditions created stressful situation, tension and job dissatisfaction for such bank workers while the majority remains on the job to avoid the pains of unemployment (Bankole, 1996; Emmons, 1990). The erosion of job security and the fear of being sacked in the psyche of an average bank worker, thus, have both physiological and psychological consequences on such individuals (Cantour and Langston 1986; Bankole, 1996).

In like manner, changing roles of Nigerian women is observable from traditionally assigned roles and image as wives and mothers whose sacred duty was to serve the man (Shittu and Olawale, 2004). The change occurred due to access to formal education, urbanization and modernization leading to steady growth in the level of female employment. Rather than merely 'supplementing' the family income, the entrenched difficult economic situation encouraged more women to successfully enter the labour market and advance in the workplace. This trend of women participation in remunerated work in both formal and non-formal labour market is global and has increased significantly. Between 1961 and 1983 the female population in the labour force increased from 33 percent to 42 percent in the United States, 32 to 39 percent in the United Kingdom and 28 to 38 percent in Australia (ILO, 1992). In a recent report by Statistics South Africa, South African women made up 51 percent of the working population and 44.6 percent of the employed (Ndhlovu, 2011). In Africa, the proportion of women (married and unmarried) in the labour force also increased tremendously over the years (Bankole and Eboiyehi, 2003; Eboiyehi, Bankole and Eromonsele, 2006). However, in spite of this accomplishment, women are still saddled with combining their careers with traditionally-prescribed household work assigned to them as a result of gender stratification. Such household responsibilities include child bearing, child nurturing, care-givers to the husbands and other members of the family. Whereas such roles are culturally-prescribed, the full participation of women (married) in fulltime employment has made the performance of these primaiy tasks more complicated and detrimental (Sokoloff, 1990). …

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