In a significant number of societies worldwide, the primary role of men is to serve as breadwinners in their households. However, in Nigeria, since the mid-1980s there has been a steady rise in the number of women breadwinners in many households. In spite of this, not enough studies have been conducted on this emerging phenomenon. Using feminist and political economy theories as explanatory tools, the study examined women breadwinners in Nigeria using Ile-Ife of Southwestern Nigeria as a case study. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were utilized to explore the circumstances leading to the rise of women breadwinners in the study area. The study showed that the increase in the number of women breadwinners was as a result of Nigeria’s economic downturn, husbands’ uncaring attitude and the need of women to properly bring up their children in line with societal norms. Breadwinning role was found to have impacted negatively on the women, a situation traceable to their socio-economic profiles such as low educational status, occupation and income which have made sustenance of the family very difficult. The paper concludes that the phenomenon of women breadwinners and the problems they encounter are due to economic recession and patriarchy in Nigeria. Governmental interventions that would primarily contribute to well-being of women breadwinners were suggested as a long term measure to ameliorate their peculiar problems.

Author Biography

Friday Asiazobor Eboiyehi, Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Caroline Okumdi Muoghalu, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Adeyinka Oladayo Bankole, Department of Sociology, College of Management Sciences, Redeemer’s University , Ede, Osun State, Nigeria.