The impact of COVID-19 on the work–life balance of working mothers: evidence from Nigerian academics

AKANJI, Babatunde, MORDI, Chima, AJONBADI, Hakeem and ADEKOYA, Olatunji (2022). The impact of COVID-19 on the work–life balance of working mothers: evidence from Nigerian academics. Personnel Review.

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Purpose Given the limiting gender role conditions arising from the prevalence of patriarchy in Nigeria and the shift to workers staying at home due to the deadly spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this article aims to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work–life balance of professional mothers using the work–home resources model as a conceptual lens. Design/methodology/approach The qualitative data is based on telephone interviews with 28 married female university academics with children. Findings The findings reveal that the confinement policies enforced due to the need to combat the spread of COVID-19 and patriarchal norms deeply embedded in the Nigerian culture have exacerbated stress amongst women, who have needed to perform significantly more housework and childcare demands alongside working remotely than they did prior to the pandemic. The thematic analysis showed a loss of personal resources (e.g. time, energy, and income) resulting in career stagnation, health concerns, and increased male chauvinism due to the abrupt and drastic changes shaping the “new normal” lifestyle. Research limitations/implications The study relies on a limited qualitative sample size, which makes the generalisation of findings difficult. However, the study contributes to the emerging global discourse on the profound negative consequences of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of millions, with a focus on the stress and work–family challenges confronting women in a society that is not particularly egalitarian – unlike Western cultures. Originality/value The article provides valuable insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected professional working mothers in the sub-Saharan African context, where literature is scarce.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1503 Business and Management; 1605 Policy and Administration; 1701 Psychology; Industrial Relations
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 10:01
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 11:01

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