Poverty and the Dynamics of Women's Participation in Household Decision-Making in Nigeria|
Oyediran, Kola' A. & Odusola, Ayodele F.
In patriarchal societies like Nigeria, where traditional norms and practices limits women's autonomous decisions on issues that affect their lives; men exercise significant influence on household decision-making processes. However, due to the economic crisis of the early 1980s and the associated worsening poverty, men's resources are increasingly becoming inadequate to meet the various needs of their households. Consequently, women's contribution to family resources has increased remarkably. To what extent has poverty affected women's participation in household decision-making? This paper tries to answer this question. Using a non-income poverty measurement (social exclusion), the study employed descriptive and analytical methods of analysis with particular attention focused on women between the ages of 25 and 49 years got married before SAP was introduced. Evidence from the study reveals a high level of impoverishment using non-income indices. The results indicate that a fairly high proportion of women are involved in household decision-making. Women participated more on household matters in pre-SAP than post-SAP era. However, poor women participate less in household decision-making relative to non-poor during post SAP era. The predominant factors are women's education, women's employment status, religion, and husband's educational attainment. The results also portray a shift away from patriarchal tendencies to an egalitarian one where partnerships and collective interactions predominate. Some policy considerations include need to mainstream gender targeting in poverty eradication, if women's family decision authority is to be meaningfully enhanced, as well as the need to ensure gender responsive budgeting in development management, promotion of improved women's education and women's gainful employment in higher income generation sectors.