There's a Twitter debate on should Nigerian housewives and stay at home mums get salaries from their husbands.
It must be said that housewives are pretty much a new concept in Nigeria’s culture. Before the arrival of the British and colonization, African mothers would go to the farm along with their husbands.
Colonialism and westernization changed all that. Men weren’t farmers anymore and Victorian principles forced on us made the man the sole provider and the woman, the head of domestic affairs.
Many, many, many years later, with the progress made in the women’s liberation movement, mothers became providers too by having jobs. And this made much more economic sense because the family now had two incomes to survive on.
Despite most homes in Nigeria having working moms, there are still many housewives in the country. Quite a number of them are educated but for some reason or the other (most times- upbringing of kids who are very young), they become housewives.
We have gone past the debate if women should be housewives. If feminism is about allowing women to make their own choices, then a woman has the right to be a housewife if she chooses as long as it is by her own free will.
Yes and yes again. A woman who stalls her career growth should be paid a monthly allowance from her husband’s income. It’s just pure logic. Apart from the money needed in taking care of the children and home, she will also need money for her personal upkeep.
Any man who wants a stay at home wife and does not pay her monthly is the devil’s incarnate. Your wife is dedicating her entire time to raising your kids and making sure the home is okay. It’s a priceless job and truthfully no amount you pay your wife will be adequate compensation. However, you must put a tangible amount aside for her every month.
This is non-negotiable. Housewives should have a percentage of their husband’s salary. It’s the right and decent thing to do.
There is, however, a danger in this. In a patriarchal society like ours where men can get away with cheating and domestic violence, a situation where a housewife sits at home and receives an allowance from an abusive husband is dangerous.
There are several stories of housewives who are trapped in their marriages because they do not have the financial resources to leave their abusive husbands and start a new life.
They are trapped at the mercy of abusers who most likely will withhold their allowances anytime they ‘err’. This is the danger of having a housewife who is financially dependent on her husband.
However, not all men who have housewives are not like this. There are many caring, faithful and loyal husbands who treat their housewives like queens.
We cannot, however, abandon the many others who are trapped in abusive marriages.
The ideal set-up is for housewives to have something on the side that brings them income. It shouldn’t demand most of their time and energy like a 9-5 job would. It should, however, be able to yield financial gain so that they won’t be totally dependent on their husbands.
All in all, housewives should get a percentage of their husband’s salary but financial dependency in this set-up is risky so these women also need to have something on the side for a rainy day or when things go sour in their marriages.