A Note on Economic Activity of Women in Nigeria

Glen Sheehan, Guy Standing


The aim of this article is to investigate some of the factors
explaining the economic activity of women in Nigeria, in particular, to
examine the question of whether urbanisation is likely to lead to a
"marginalisation" of Women in Nigeria. Such a question would not
normally be asked in most developing countries because, since recorded
female labour force participation is low in the rural areas of most
countries, it could be expected that urbanisation would be associated
with rising levels of female activity. However, a different situation
exists in sub-Saharan Africa with female participation in the rural
economy being strikingly high.1 This is associated with a traditional
division of labour which allocates prominent roles to women in
subsistence agriculture and often in trading activities. This tradition
is partly explained by the need for men to travel long distances to hunt
or, in this century, increasingly to find wage earning activity. The
present study is based on a survey carried out by the Human Resources
Research Unit of the University of Lagos in 1973 and 1974. It covered a
sample of 2,700 women aged 20 and over drawn from four areas of Nigeria.
It is admitted at the very outset that conceptual deficiencies in the
survey appear to have led to an understatement of labour force
participation in rural areas, making the analysis somewhat

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30541/v17i2pp.253-261


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