Patriarchal hegemony: Investigating the Impact of Patriarchy on Women’s Work-life balance

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Gender in Management: An International Journal


Purpose – Research on the impact of patriarchy and patriarchal norms on women’s work-life balance is scarce. A typical patriarchal society, such as Nigeria, tends to be organised based on gender, and the construct is embedded in the culture. This paper aims to investigate the impact of patriarchy on women’s work-life balance in a non-Western context: Nigeria. Design/methodology/approach – The authors adopt a qualitative research approach to enhance their insight into the issue of patriarchy and women’s work-life balance. Data for the study were collected over a four-month period, using semi-structured interviews as the primary method of data collection. Findings – The findings of the thematic analysis reveal the impact of patriarchy on women’s work-life balance in Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Nigeria. Women’s aspirations to achieve work-life balance in this part of the world are often frustrated by patriarchal norms, which are deeply ingrained in the culture. The findings of this study reveal that male dominance of and excessive subordination of females, domestic and gender-based division of labour and higher patriarchal proclivities among men are the ingredients of a patriarchal society. These issues make the achievement of work-life balance difficult for women. Research limitations/implications – The extent to which the findings of this research can be generalised is constrained by the limited sample size and the selected research context. Practical implications – The insights gleaned from this research suggest that there are still major challenges for women in the global south, specifically Nigeria, in terms of achieving work-life balance due to the prevalent patriarchy and patriarchal norms in the society. Strong patriarchal norms and proclivity negatively affect women’s work-life balance and in turn may impact employee productivity, organisational effectiveness, employee performance and employee punctuality at work. However, an Australian “Champion of Change” initiative may be adopted to ease the patriarchal proclivity and help women to achieve work-life balance. Originality/value – This paper provides valuable insights by bringing patriarchy into the discussion of work-life balance. This issue has been hitherto rare in the literature. It therefore enriches the literature on work-life balance from a patriarchal perspective.



Women, Flexibility, Work, Gender discrimination, Flexible working hours


34(1) 19-33