A Critical Analysis Of The Bread Winner Status And Gender Ideologies Of Men And Women

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

A Critical Analysis Of The Bread Winner Status And Gender Ideologies Of Men And Women


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Gender ideologies are described as people’s perspectives on gender roles (Davis & Greenstein, 2009). Gender ideologies exist on a spectrum, with conservative gender ideologies on one end of the spectrum and inclusive gender ideologies on the other. Gender ideologies may be held at any point in this spectrum, with some people holding very egalitarian gender ideologies, others less egalitarian gender ideologies, and so on. Traditional gender philosophies believe in a “traditional” division of labor, with men serving as breadwinners and women as housekeepers.

A breadwinner is a colloquial term for the primary or sole income earner in a household. Breadwinners, by contributing the largest portion of household income, generally cover most household expenses and financially support their dependents.

Men’s provider roles have declined dramatically over the last two decades, owing in part to rising female labor participation and in part to a deterioration of men’s absolute earning power as a result of rising unemployment and underemployment rates (Bernard 1993; Gerson 1993; Goode 1994). Because of women’s rising earning power and contribution to the paying workforce, as well as men’s stagnant social mobility, some families are becoming more financially dependent on women. As a result, the male dominance structure’s pillars have been undermined (Gerson 1993; Goode 1994; Hunt and Hunt 1987).

Men’s gender ideologies seem to be less aligned in research results than women’s. Researchers disagree on whether the higher earning status of wives and lower earning status of husbands cause men’s ideological changes in the same way as they do for women in their study of the relationship between female labor force participation and gender ideology. The question is whether men regard their wives’ jobs as a threat or an advantage to them. The threat claim contends that, despite the economic benefits to men of making their wives work, wives’ higher earning status can enhance wives’ power in the marriage and pose a threat to masculine self-identity.

While the rising clamour of who should be the sole provider for the family and that of gender equality where women are desiring to be twice successful than the men, there is need to balance these concept of Bread Winner Status and gender ideologies of men and women to enhance women retaining the respect for their husbands even though they are exposed to labour force or earn higher income than their husbands. Therefore it is upon this premise that this study is set to do a A Critical Analysis of the Bread Winner Status and gender ideologies of men and women.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

As Africa’s urban systems shift and evolve, with more women getting educated and working outside the home, and more men facing unemployment and retrenchment, a new phenomenon has emerged, questioning traditional gender roles and identities in the sense of families. Current livelihood realities reconstruct and renegotiate how and who meets household needs, calling conventional patriarchal dictates into doubt.

Although changes in family composition are not entirely new, as evidenced by the nineteenth-century shift in the predominance of nuclear families over extended families in urban areas, changes in traditional gender roles of breadwinning in the African family system are. As social transition mechanisms, the consequences of these recent family role configurations will not be stable and peaceful, necessitating more contemporary studies like this current offering.This is especially significant because, as cultures shift from a conventional to a more progressive trend as a result of internal and external influences, the repercussions are felt most strongly in the family and the family is the predominant expression of ideals and social expectations that reverberate at all levels of society. The rise and growth of dual-earner families has been the beginning of the challenge to conventional male roles in caring for the family, and this has been the beginning of the challenge to traditional male roles in providing for the family. What happens when existing and familiar arrangements are disrupted by the emergence of new socio-economic realities in African communities, causing women to become the primary breadwinners? What are the ramifications of this split for the family as a micro unit of society? As a result of these and other factors, this study was designed to conduct a critical examination of men’s and women’s breadwinner statuses and gender ideologies.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

The general focus of this study is to observe a critical analysis of the bread winner status and gender ideologies of men and women. Specifically, it will investigate factors that have led to a change in breadwinner status in Nigeria. It will examine if women as breadwinners affects the family unit. It will investigate if the change in breadwinner status from men to women has affected the self-identity and masculinity of men. It will examine if the female bread winner ideology has strained marital ties and marriages in Nigeria.


1.4 Research Question

The following research question guides the study

  1. What are the factors that have led to the change in breadwinner status in Nigeria?
  2. Do women as breadwinners affect the family unit?
  3. Does the change in breadwinner status from men to women affect the self-identity and masculinity of men?
  4. Does the female bread winner ideology have strained marital ties and marriages in Nigeria?
  5. Do breadwinner status and gender ideologies of men and women is a contributory factor to the increase in the divorce rate in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This study will be important for families, young people, married men and women. To women, it will enlighten them on the need to understand that, culturally and religiously, they are meant to be submissive to their husband no matter how much they earn or how educated they are. Thus, it is expected of them to perform their home keeping roles as this will strengthen not just the family relationship but their marital relationships. It will encourage men to feel secure in who they are, even if their wives are more successful, and they should not allow this societal change to affect their self-identity or masculinity. This will enable them to be more patient and understanding with their wives, thus promoting healthy family relationships. It will enlighten those who are agitating for feminism to draw a boundary between females having equal rights and feminist extremism. Hence, they should stop instigating egoistic ideologies into young females which makes them rub shoulders with the male gender. This has led to depleting marriages, an increase in the divorce rate and scattered families.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

The scope of this study is to observe a critical analysis of the bread winner status and gender ideologies of men and women. It will examine if the female bread winner ideology has strained marital ties and marriages in Nigeria. It will review literature relating to the concept under discussed. The study is, however, is delimited to Ikeja in Lagos State.


1.7 Limitation Of The Study

During the course of the study, challenges encountered were exclusively but not delimited to the following. These are

Inadequate Funding:

The research was hampered by a lack of funds, which prevented the researcher from closing to Access Banks in Lagos, particularly in the printing and collation of questionnaires.

Time Constraint:

Another constraint is the fact that this research had to be completed concurrently with other academic work, making it impossible to conduct this study in large more representative skill.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

Gender:

Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, men and women, femininity and masculinity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures, or gender identity.

Ideology:

Ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially as held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which “practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones

Breadwinner:

Breadwinner is a colloquial term for the primary or sole income earner in a household. Breadwinners, by contributing the largest portion of household income, generally cover most household expenses and financially support their dependents.

Gender Ideologies:

Gender ideologies are defined as views that people hold regarding gender roles. It is concerned with describing and explaining cross-cultural similarities and differences in human views on women, men, and what is expected of them in family roles and responsibilities.


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