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

November 3, 2022

On October 23, 2022, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu bragged on Twitter about the delivery of 62 brand-new fire trucks and support vehicles for the Lagos State Fire Department. The vehicles paraded the streets of Lagos like happy children would display their Christmas clothes to their friends and haters.  But when a fire started burning a building […]

January 12, 2021

A Week In The Life is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week. The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is an Alaga Iyawo. […]

June 10, 2019

Every week, we ask anonymous people to give us a window into their relationship with the Naira – their secret Naira Life. This week’s story pulled off in collaboration with ARM Investment Managers. They have a diverse range of Mutual funds for everyone looking to give investments a shot, from the beginners to the veterans. […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 7, 2022

From battling with traffic to hustling for fuel in long queues, Nigeria is definitely not for the faint-hearted. This is why the government needs to take our mental health seriously. If you’ve ever wondered how seriously the government is taking the issue of our mental health, here’s what we know. Nigeria’s current mental health law […]

December 7, 2022

There are several advantages to outsourcing your writing to a professional service. This includes high quality work, unlimited revisions, high priority status, and high priority. You can be sure that the final product is up to academic standards. It will also not contain any plagiarism. For any questions or instructions, you may also contact the […]

December 7, 2022

As if the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, hadn’t already surprised Nigerians enough for one week with a rare presidential town hall at Chatham House, he also granted a rare interview with BBC Africa. Hosted by BBC correspondent, Peter Okwoche, the eight-minute interview caused a flurry of conversation online. Tinubu had some […]

Recommended Quizzes

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

December 29, 2021

A new year is right around the corner. Before we go into 2022, enjoy some of our top quizzes from this year. 1. QUIZ: Only Nigerian Gen Z’ers Can Make It To The End Of This Musicians Quiz Forget about your age. If you can make it to the end of this quiz, you’re definitely […]

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

More from Hustle

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
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.

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