April 22, 2024

Unemployment: More women take to men’s professions for survival

Nigeria’s unemployment rate rises by 0.8 per cent in Q3 2023 - NBS 

The hardship plaguing the country has swept ubder the carpet the perception that women are made for the kitchen.

Today, hardship has driven women into vocations ordinarily meant for men, just to survive.

Economy&Lifestyle discovered that the quest for making ends meet has led more women into jobs like mason, screeding, carpentry, and such vocation, which was the exclusive professions of the menfolk.

For Mrs. Sarah Okpalaoka, a screeder (indoor decorator), said it was a difficult task for her, but she had to embrace it, knowing it is the only job that can help pay her bills.

“It is quite funny to see a woman painter, plumber, engineer, and screeder like me working on projects.
“But the fact is that we need to take up the challenge to be able to take care of our families.
“I am an O Levels certificate holder. I have three children and my husband is handicapped.
“We have to survive.

“I learned how to screed from a friend of my husband’s who is a screeder.
“It took me three months to learn the job.

“So I started getting jobs from people through his help.

“At first it was very tough — climbing and heights — as a person who is afraid of heights cannot go into the vocation.
“I am happy that at least I can take care of my family and raise money to open a very lucrative business, because I don’t plan on doing this for long.”

For Ms Beatrice Ikpamanam, a plumber and painter, it is difficult for most clients to trust women with jobs meant for men.
“Many women are now into men’s professions such as bus conducting, commercial and truck driving, interior decorating, engineering, painting, plumbing and so on.

“But to be frank we face a lot of challenges because many look down at us as weaklings unable to perform tasks as men.
“But after a trial they are convinced that women are the best in such jobs.

“Getting a contract is also difficult because of this gender issue

“When I started my career in plumbing and painting, my family thought I was crazy.

“Getting a job was also difficult but with time many people started contacting me for my plumbing and painting service.
“My strategy was timely delivery of my services and a perfect job. These were what made me progress in the professions.”
Mr. Leonard Achumugu, a businessman, explained that most of these women now going into men’s profession were once professionals in hair making, make-up application, tailoring among others.

“One of the factors responsible for this trend is unemployment.

“Many companies are shutting down operations in the country while some are cutting down on staff.”

The National Bureau of Statistics, Labor Force Statistics Report for the third quarter of 2023 (Q3’23) showed that the rate of unemployment stood at 5.0 per cent, representing a 0.8 percentage point growth from 4.2 per cent in Q2’23.

It also said that the unemployment rate by sex among men was 4.0 per cent and among women was 6.0 per cent.

Achumugu also highlighted low patronage, skills acquisition for self service among other things as factors responsible for women going into men’s professions.

“Also, many of these women now going into men’s professions were once into tailoring, hairdressing, catering and decorations among other professions.

“But the economic situation in Nigeria has made many customers reduce patronage from these professions making the professionals make less profits with increasing bills to foot.

“Also, many women are learning these professions just to provide the services for themselves to cut costs.
“Like my wife had to go learn baking just to be able to bake for my children instead of buying baked foods outside which she claims are expensive.

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