6 Women on the Burden of Being Breadwinners in Their Families

July 21, 2022

It’s possible that when you think about breadwinners in the home, your mind automatically goes to the man. Regardless of what society expects, this isn’t always the case in every family.

We spoke to six Nigerian women about being major financial providers in their families, and here’s what they had to say:

“We don’t talk about it”

— Joke*, 36

I’ve been married for four years, and my husband has only officially worked for one year since we got together. He lost his job due to some kind of office politics, and now, he just does some online freelancing to make money.

I cover all the bills — including rent and our children’s school fees — from my ₦100k salary. It’s challenging, and I must have taken loans from every co-operative at my job. At this point, we don’t even talk about me having to take care of everything anymore; it’s just expected. I can’t say anything so as not to seem disrespectful.

“My mum expects me to send money home”

— Gina*, 20

I’m a student at one of the federal polytechnics, and I also make hair for my fellow students to get some money. My mum is a single mother of two, and she sells sweets to fend for us.

I understand how tough things are at home, and I send what I can, especially to support my little sister who’s still in secondary school, but it gets frustrating that my mum expects so much from me. I once asked her where she thought I got money from and she didn’t say anything. 

I hustle daily to support my family and pay for school, but I hope I don’t get pushed into doing what I’m not supposed to do.


RELATED: Eight Nigerians Share Their Black Tax Stories


“No one knows our situation”

— Giftie*, 28

I earn 70% more than my husband does. So naturally, I take on more responsibilities at home. That isn’t an issue in itself, but the pressure from our extended family is out of this world.

My husband is generous, and our extended family takes advantage of this. It has gotten so bad that they now feel entitled, and if he doesn’t send money, they say his wife doesn’t want him to help them. Now I find myself spending most of my salary just to satisfy family demands — while they think it’s coming from my husband. People think we’re rich, in reality, we have to stretch out my husband’s small salary to afford rent and other utilities. 

“It’s tiring”

— Lizzy*, 33

My husband is out of the country, and I’ve been the only one catering to the children — well, except for the yearly rent that he sends.

He’s been away for three years now, and I still wonder if it’s that difficult to send something to assist in feeding and school fees at least once in a while. His family also doesn’t care to know how we live. But if I dare ask him for money, his mother will know and send one of his siblings to harass me.

I like to console myself by assuming I’m a single mother so I don’t feel too disappointed. 


RELATED: Five Nigerian Women Share Why They Regret Getting Married


“I try my best to ease my parents’ suffering”

— Jocelyn*, 27

I know how hard my parents worked to ensure my siblings and I didn’t lack anything while we were growing up.

Now that I have a job and they’re both retired, I’m only too happy to take on our financial needs, especially with three of my siblings still in school. It’s tough because I don’t earn so much, and I don’t have a glucose guardian, but I try my best.

It means I can’t just spend on enjoyment sturvs for myself or randomly go out with friends, but it’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make. My parents did more for us.

“We’re a unit”

— Hadiza*, 31

My husband resigned from work in 2021 to further his studies in another state. I’ve had to shoulder all the home expenses and even assist with his school expenses.

I don’t have a problem with it because this is something that we already talked about and agreed on together. But it’s difficult because we have three children. Anyway, the fact that this should be temporary helps make it easier.


*All names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.


What’s the Wildest Thing You’ve Done to Make Money? Read What These Six Nigerians Had to Say.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 31, 2020

Money makes the world go round and if you’re Nigerian, the Naira makes you sad. Very sad. We tried to imagine the kind of energy the different currencies would have if they were students. 1) U.S dollars is that talented and popular kid that everyone likes. Dollars secretly hates everyone but doesn’t show it. 2) […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

August 13, 2022

The subject of this week’s Sex Life is a 25-year-old queer woman who owns half a dozen sex toys and wants more. She talks about her sex toy curiosity, the trial and errors before she found the perfect ones and how she navigates sex with people. 

Recommended Quizzes

November 4, 2019

After successfully predicting when y’all are getting married (please, email any complaints to noneofourbusiness@nayousabi.com), we are back to tell you how much is currently in your account. How, you might ask? By using your taste in Nollywood, of course. Shhh. No questions. Just take it already:

November 7, 2019

These days, everyone is always talking about how much sex they’re getting, or how little sex they’re getting, or how disgusting sex is etc. There’s just so much talk about sex, it’s almost impossible to know who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. In anticipation of our new series about the sex lives of young […]

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

More from Hustle

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X