By Habiba Ladan
Most studies that are carried out on gender-based violence are mainly focused on its physical, emotional and psychological effects. However, we’ll take a look at economic violence and its implications on the wellbeing of women.
Economic violence is any type of act that causes economic harm or problems to an individual. These problems range from restriction of education and health care services, damaging of property, inequality in work places, labour market, employment and other economic responsibilities.
In a country like Nigeria where culture and traditions guide the way of life of the people, women are seen as supporters, not providers which makes it more difficult for them to get access to more job opportunities and forces them to be economically dependent on men.
This issue needs to be addressed especially in the northern part of Nigeria where women don’t have the full freedom to leave thier partners, take their children and dissolve a marriage. A lot of women tend to stay in an abusive marriage because they lack the means to provide for themselves without the support of their husbands.
There’s no specific cause of economic violence as it varies from individual to individual, but the main factor that enhances economic violence is gender stereotype.
Gender stereotype has always been used to justify economic violence as the men who are physically stronger, dominate and control the lives of women who are weaker.
Research has shown that when women secure a paid job, men usually feel violated as the ‘breadwinner’ of the family and may seek to retrieve and compensate power which will result in violence. Subsequently, women who are working tend to face assaults, harassment, discrimination and inequality in their work environment and in most cases these women do not report such incidences because they fear they may lose their jobs.
There’s need for an indepth research on economic violence which goes beyond the immediate partner and family but to the public sphere and the whole working environment.
As the fight for equality for women continues, it is important to research on how violence manifests in workplace as more women are now going into the workforce.
Gender stereotype should be abolished. Both men and women should be treated based on merit not based on how the society defines it.
Advocacy message should be addressed towards the male gender or couple to learn how to co-exist with one another without anyone dominating the other.
Empowerment and awareness programs should be provided for the female gender so that they know how to depend on themselves without needing the support of the male gender.
Girl child education cannot be over emphasized as it’s one of the most important weapons in eradicating economic violence and GBV in general.