Saturday, December 9, 2017

When women are the breadwinners


By Salome Gregory

We got so accustomed to the term ‘stay-at-home-mother’, well, now the tables have turned, we have ‘stay-at-home-dads’. It is an undeniable fact that wives are becoming more breadwinners for their families, while husbands stay at home taking care of the children, or engage in other activities.

A random survey by Woman reveals that with the change in lifestyle and various movements such as the fight for the rights of the girl child have helped propel women to the forefront. Today there is a rise of women in the workforce (both formal and informal employment).

Tecla Tito, 36, lives in Kinondoni. She is a married businesswoman and a mother of two children. For her business, she has to travel to Uganda. She brings bed sheets, bed nets and shoes. She has been the bread winner the family bread winner for more than five years now.

She was married in 2007. Earlier she used to work as a hotelier at a certain Hotel in Arusha. Soon after her marriage she agreed to relocate from Arusha and join her husband who worked as a civil servant.

“We saw a need to spend more time together as a new married couple. I had to quit my job and join my husband. That left me unemployed. However much my husband was happy to provide for everything, I was not happy just to sitting at home doing nothing,” says Tecla.

After sharing several business ideas with her husband they finally agreed with her current business. Three years after her marriage she started travelling on business trips.

Initial stages of her business were hampered with obstacles. “Getting customers at the begging of the business was never easy. Some of the customers were not faithful and either never paid on time or never paid at all,” the married business woman speaks.

According to Tecla, a year later, her husband was sacked from his job. He later started a small business close to their home.

“My husband tried out my business, but couldn’t tolerate giving things on credit. He gave up on this business in just two months. This made me put more effort in my business because it was the sole source of income for our family,” says Tecla.

She further says that her business started on humble footing, but grew with time.

Adding to that she says, through walking to different offices advertising her business, three years later she managed to set up a small shop in Kariakoo.

“The family completely depends on my business. I pay school fees for my two children. In a year I pay up to Sh3million in school fees. There is also rent which stands at Sh3.6million per year, not forgetting food expenses and other essentials,” says Tecla.

Staying focused

William Kuyunga is a Pentecostal Pastor in Sinza. He says that, the rise in number of women bread winners is a result of working hard without losing focus.

He says, women are becoming more influential compared to men. And they are capable of multitasking. A woman can cool while washing clothes and at the same time taking care of the children without losing her focus.

“The biggest challenge women face is how people around them help them reach their goals. If well supported from family level, women are considered to be more engaged and fruitful in bringing food at home,” he says.

Anna Bantulaki, 39, is a nurse by profession. Three years ago she was retrenched from the dispensary she used to work. Anna was shattered, considering the fact that she was the bread winner for her family after her husband moved to Dodoma to look for a job but never returned for over two years. She wondered how she was going to provide for her two children; Diana, 6, and Muganyizi, 4.

“I used to get paid Sh200,000 per month. I lived in a one room apartment that cost me Sh50,000 per moth. My first born was just three years old and I had to pay for her nursery education which stood at Sh40,000 per month,” she says.

Anna was retrenched partly due to the fact that she would carry her baby to work since she couldn’t afford a sitter at home. After getting her benefits money from the retrenchment, she started off by opening a food vending business. In just a year her life changed and until now she can at least manage to provide three daily meals for her children.

Commenting on her husband’s absence she says previously she used to call her husband asking for his support but he always said he had no money.

“After sometime I decided to just stand alone and fight for my children. It was never easy to accept the situation but soon as I started my new business things started working out for the better,” says Anna.

Anna’s husband returned from Dodoma 5 months ago, but Anna doesn’t want anything to do with him.

Richard Kihiyo, 40,* is a father of a 10-year-old child. He lost his job four years ago. Since then his wife has been providing for the family.

He says, as a man he is not happy and comfortable seeing his wife who works at an Embassy taking care of everything at home.

They only have one child but are living with three of his relatives. He thinks that his wife is overburdened.

“It kills me when I can’t give my family the best of me as a father and as a husband but I have no way out than to keep looking for jobs. Next year I’ll start a business to help me contribute to the family expenses,” he says.

Commenting on how it feels to have the woman be the one providing for the family, Richard says it can become a little embarrassing for the man. There is a tendency of feeling like the woman is being disrespectful but in reality it is just lack of self-confidence on the man’s side.

Effects on intimacy

According to UK’s telegraph, ‘stay-at-home’ dads - househusbands, emasculated by being financially dependent on their breadwinning wives, are more likely to have an affair

“Engaging in infidelity may be a way of re-establishing threatened masculinity,” suggested lead researcher, Professor Christin Munsch. “Simultaneously, infidelity allows threatened men to distance themselves from, and perhaps punish, their higher earning spouses,” reads party of the article.

In his recent New York Times article, “Breadwinning Wives and Nervous Husbands,” Richard Thaler, a behavioral economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, wrote “evidence suggests that while men tend to applaud their spouses when they help to bring home the bacon, husbands aren’t always as enthusiastic when women start bringing home the filet mignon.”