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The main purpose of the study was to determine mainly work-life balance among female industrial workers in Onitsha, Anambra State. Specifically, the study sought to determine the influence of long working hours of female industrial workers on family meals in the family, the influence of female work-life balance with regards to family well being., the female work-life balance with regards to housekeeping services and the coping strategies employed by the female industrial workers to improve their work-life balance. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The study was carried out in Onitsha Anambra State. The population of this study was a total number of 2,540 women working in small and medium scale industries such as wool garment, hair dressing salon, tailoring shops and those working in bakery and confectionary industries. The sample for this study was 474 female industry workers. The sample size was determined using Yaro-Yamane formula for a finite population. Multi-stage sampling technique was adopted in this study. In the first stage, stratified random sampling technique was used to group the respondents into married and single, urban and rural, senior and junior workers, government and private owned industry working class women in Anambra state. The instrument for data collection was a structured questionnaire developed by the researcher from literature based on the objectives of the study. The questionnaire was divided into five parts, A to E. The questionnaire is made up of 35 items divided into sections. The instrument has a four point rating scale with scoring range of point for point 1strongly agree, point 2 Agree, point 3 Disagree and point 4 Strongly Disagree. The instrument was subjected to face-validation by three experts from the Department of Home Economics Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.  Each validate was served with a copy of the instrument to ascertain the clarity, correctness and suitability of the items of the instrument. The researcher used their corrections, comments, suggestions, and amendments to produce the final copy of the instrument. To establish the reliability of the instrument, Twenty copies of questionnaire were trial tested on twenty home makers and teachers in Nnewi.  Cronbach Alpha reliability method was used to establish the internal consistency of the instrument and it yielded the overall reliability coefficients of 0.85. The researcher administered and collected the instrument with the help of three research assistants. Some 474 copies of the questionnaire were returned duly completed and formed the basis of analysis.  Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions that guided the study while t-test statistic was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance.  The finding of the study showed among others that female workers in the industry come home late from work to prepare their family meal, long working hours have great influence on family meal in families. The finding of the study showed that industrial female workers maintain unhealthy social life, have poor concentration for their spouse and children due to work and family imbalance and spend less time with their families. The finding of the study from the test of hypotheses showed that respondents from urban and rural areas did not differ significantly (p>0.05) in their opinion on their work life balance on family well being. It was found that there was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the mean response of senior female workers and junior female workers on their work-life balance as regards to their housekeeping activities. It was recommended among others that families should attend seminars, workshop and conference in order to gain adequate knowledge on how to integrate work and family life as part of everyday reality,  industrial policy makers should make flexible policies that will avail the female workers opportunity to attend to non-work demands with minimal interference in work roles and Government should create a sensitization programme for the general public especially the female industrial workers that will expose them to some coping strategies especially during stressful conditions.



Background of the Study

Work is something one does to earn a living. It is also a task, duty or function carried out by people as a means of livelihood. According to Ezeji (2001), work relates to occupation, vocations or profession which applies some physical or mental extortion by which an individual seek to earn an honest living. Okoro (1993), viewed work as any mental or physical activity directed towards the achievement of a goal. This goal may be for financial gain, salary or the financial reward to be gained. There are different kinds of work individuals engage themselves in. Example of such work includes salaried and non salaried work. Those that earn salaries or wages from their employers are the salary type of work. These employers may be federal, state or local government or private enterprises. Also, some can be self employed as entrepreneurs to create wealth. This study focuses on the mothers or female who are working in industries in Onitsha.

In Onitsha, there are many establishments and industries at different scales. They employ both men and women according to skills acquired. The female counterparts are mostly young women of child bearing age.  Majority of the people in Onitsha especially women are married with children and at the same time engage themselves in different types of industries. They perform different types of job and spend long period in the industry to earn a living, e.g. of the these industries are snack and confectionary, wool garment industry tailoring and hair dressing/barbing saloon among others, where these women work for career

These women’s careers are constantly challenged by the necessity of full-time work and their responsibilities and tasks in their various homes. According to Lakshmipriya and Neena (2008), a great number of women work 40 – 45 hours per week and 53 percent of them are striving to achieve work life balance in their dual roles and responsibilities. This therefore requires a balance. Balance is a state in which different things occur in at equal or proper amounts of importance.

Industries refer to the production of economic goods-materials or services any general business activity or commercial enterprise that can be isolated from others such as the tourist industry or the entertainment industry. An industry can be classified into the following categories such as monopoly, pure competition, monopolistic competition and Oligopoly. Monopoly: A monopoly is an industry with only one seller. The product that the firm sells has on close


substitutes. Firms that enjoy monopolies must have received right from government. Pure competition is a market structure in which there are many competing firms selling identical products or services. Very few industries in the real world are purely competitive, because it is believed that each company has at least a small amount of monopoly power to analyze the market structure. Monopolistic competition is a market structure in which there are many small firms selling slightly differentiated products or services. In a monopolistically competitive industry, there are many competing firms. 

Finally, in an oligopoly industry, a small number of firms are responsible for the majority of the sales. Firms in this kind of industry are usually big. In Onitsha, there are different industries that are characterized under this category that employ women of different status both in senior and junior categories to work in the firms for production of goods and service (http.//ww.businessdictionary.com.updated).

In the industry we have both junior and senior industry workers that are involved in both production and administration of the industry/firm. The junior workers include the cleaners, drivers, some machine/equipment operators among others. Most of them have lower qualification of education like WASSCE, OND Certificate etc and some that are specialized in a particular skill acquisition. Most of them run shift work to engage in production. In the senior level, they are the group normally used in the management of the firm/industry that attained higher level of education. Some of them were supervisors of different sections while some were appointed managers of different sections to see to the day to day affair of the entire industry. Both the junior and senior workers work as a theme to achieve the management goals.      

Balance is associated with job and life satisfaction, increased productivity and decreased absenteeism. Successfully achieving work/life balance will ultimately create a more satisfied workforce that contributes to productivity and success in the workplace, (Lakshmpriya and Neena, 2008).  The balance between work and family roles influence women working outside the home to make career decision, work extra hours, make sacrifices in their personal lives and make the most of every opportunity for the sake of money. Working outside the home includes working in industry to make ends meet. This makes most of them to have a stressful life especially where they work, most of the workers work so late, they became fatigued and wormout. The lucky one among them will have their mother’s support. Their mother’s help them by doing household chores, thus, lessening their responsibilities at home and helping them focus more at work. In some cases, most working class women also employ the services of nannies in their homes. Despite the fact that adequate statistics are presently not available, it is observed that in the Nigerian setting, the old idea of a ‘full-time house wife’ has given way to the new order of dual-earner couples in the face of the declining economic fortunes of the country since the early 1980’s and the vast opportunities opened to both men and women in the paid labour force.

        Most women working in the industry opt for house help/maids and few women are assisted by their husbands to give them support. Home support can reduce the amount of family conflict that female workers experience. The women would be equipped to balance work and home life if support was provided at home. Most women work tirelessly in their homes to meet with the demand of their house hold chores. They perform their duties as mothers by cooking, cleaning the house, washing their children’s clothes, go to market to buy food stuff and also go to work to look for money, then take care of both the children and their spouses. At the end of the day they become worn-out and stressed up which will invariably affect both their physical and psychological well-being. Some of them could seek the help of nannies/maids to assist them in their house chores. While some could buy some labour saving devices like washing machine to clean up the clothing in the home. At times some go for already cooked low quality food or roadside food vendor to purchase the family foods. All these have some health challenges in the upbringing of the kids, (Cole, 2006). Most working class women are face with dual role which can cause work-life conflict. Work-life balance can be traced to work life conflict or challenges that people encounter in an attempt to find a leverage or sense of balance within and outside the work environment.

       Work-life balance means the capacity to schedule the hours of professional and personal life so as to lead a healthy and peaceful life. It emphasizes the values, attitudes and beliefs of women regarding their age to work in organizing and balancing their work and personal life. According to Greenhaus, and Singh (2003), work-life balance describes the extent to which individuals are equally involved and satisfied with their family and work roles. This to some extent takes care of the concerns from both sphere, inferring that giving equal priority to both roles can reduce or even resolve conflict (Gregory and Milner, 2009). Moreso, work-life balance is a situation in which employees are able to give right amount of time and efforts to their work as well as their personal life outside work (Hill, Hawkins, Ferris & Weitzman, 2001). A broader view describes work-life balance as satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home, with a minimum of role conflict (Clark, 2002). 

Work-life balance is achieved when an individual can handle both family responsibilities as well as organizing his/her own duties perfectly (Anna, 2010). It is the flexible working arrangements that allow parents to avail themselves opportunities of working arrangements that provide a balance between work responsibilities and personal responsibilities (Uddin, Hoque, Mamun, Ama and Uddin, 2013). The time has changed when men alone earn the family living. In today’s world both men and women equally share the responsibility of earning for the betterment of their family life. However, the increased workforce participation of both parents has a profound effect on family life. Some of the domestic work traditionally undertaken by mothers has been contracted out (for example child care and house cleaning) or lessened by the use of labour saving devices and purchasing prepared food in other to balance up with work and family life. 

Indeed, from early civilization, women have been playing very important role in the family, from child bearing to handling household affairs but also generating income through handicrafts and many other ways. (Uddin, Hoque, Mamun and Uddin, 2013). The role of women is so important that ignoring their roles, may not allow any family and society to progress and prospers in a balanced and meaningful way. Economic pressures over the last decade have significantly increased the need for dual-earner families to the point that the majority of families now require two bread winners to meet the rising cost of living (Ford, Heinen and Langkarmer, 2007). Now women are entering into the labour force in large numbers where the majority of them come from middle-class family with children. This has either directly or indirectly affected virtually everyone in the society as women step out of the home into paid employment.

 The growing number of women in the labour force (industry) intensifies the realization that more individuals have to simultaneously manage two domains of life, that is, family and work (Grant-Vallone & Ensher, 2001, Karinu, 2006). In Anambra State an individual’s identity is largely tied to the identity of the extended family. The majority of Anambra women are still highly responsible for housekeeping, childcare and all other aspects of running a home. Despite the traditional structure of family roles in Anambra State with men as the bread winners, a number of women now participate in the workplace especially in industries in the state. Growing cost of living as well as change of mind set is some of the factors which cause increasing number of educated as well as uneducated women are now working outside their home. Even in the recent time, the tendency is increasing gradually. As a result, the traditional family is being replaced by the dual career families which make most women to have work-life imbalance.

       In Onitsha, parents who choose to work long hours may encounter some negative consequences such as less caring to spouse and children, non-participation in both community and church activities, that long hours of work may bring. Most times their children do not eat at the right time due to the absence of the mother in the home. At times they eat poor quality food prepared by the maids/ nanny in the house and this equally affect family meal and consequently health of members of the family.

Meal can be referred to as the food and drink a person consumes daily. A healthy meal gives the body the nutrients it needs to perform physically, maintain wellness, and fight disease. Families whose dietary patterns include fresh, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and fish have a lower incidence of major chronic diseases, especially those that are meal related. Nevertheless, imbalance in both work and family responsibilities as a result of long work hours and irregular schedules mean more time away from family, less time for household food, difficulty in maintaining a regular diet pattern and less opportunity to participate in family meal. According to Devine (2009) these conditions as well as the lack of access to healthy meal force many parents to use such coping strategies like eating out meals, skipping meal etc. Some meal prepared outside the home has been shown to be lower in nutritional quality than meal prepared in the home. Some of these diets are disproportionately high in calories, fat, salt and sugar and lower in fruit and vegetables, and other healthful foods. Pressures on women food choices obviously have great impact on their family meals and health of individual members of their families. Family meal involves more than simply eating “good food”. It is about nourishment at every level. It also involves relationships with family, friends, the environment and our bodies, communities and the world in order to maintain good individual family wellbeing.

        Family well being is the quality of life of an individual or other social unit (Behnke and Mac Dernud, 2004). Family wellbeing includes family financial and material circumstances, parental employment, satisfaction of family members with relationships with one another and their reports of behavior that provide insight into parenting styles and the quality of family functioning (Weston, Grey, Ou and Stanton, 2004). Most women who work in the industry spend more time outside the home. Most times they are not likely to be present when children return home from schools. They are not there for their children in some activities in the home such as helping with home work and attending parent-teacher meetings. The wellbeing of an individual in a family is a function of each member of that particular family. When one family member struggles all others are impacted (Behnke and MacDermid, 2004). As such the impact of a variable like work-hour balance affects both the parents and their families, directly and indirectly (Weston, et al. 2004). The outcome of balancing work and family roles might not always be negative; there might be potentiality. When there is good family well being the female worker could able to carry out her housekeeping responsibilities.  

Housekeeping means daily cleanliness of our environment both in the house and office where one works. According to Anyakoha, and Eluwa (2008) housekeepers sees to the cleanliness of their surroundings to ensure that buildings are kept clean. She oversees both the sweeping and cleaning of the houses, washing of curtains and beddings. She also ensures that household linen eg. Curtains, bed sheets, pillow cases and table covers are mended promptly. She also takes an inventory of the things in the house and keeps accurate records of them. She chooses or buys house cleaning agents and materials, stores them properly without the toddlers tempering with them as toys. She always inspects her surroundings, trims flowers and cut down grasses to make the surroundings neat. She oversees the maintenance of broken furniture, leaking roofs, checking for dead bulbs and other faults in the industry and arrange them for immediate repairs. All these are roles performed by women in their various homes. They also take care and manage her kitchen very well and finally prepares meals for the wellbeing of her family members.  Finally, in an attempt to fill the gap, this study seeks to provide more robust empirical support on varying views as regards to the influence of work-life balance on female industry workers. Moreover, no study seems to have been carried out on how to balance work and family roles by female industry workers. Hence, the need to examine how female workers balance their family roles with the paid work.

Statement of the Problem

In Onitsha town most women were complaining seriously especially the working class women in the industry on how ends could meet irrespective of economic recession the citizenry were experiencing. They are of the opinion that they are passing through hard times nowadays and totally stressed up at the end of the day. However, this led to excessive stress while balance their paid salary work and their household chores. At the same time they go to extra miles to attend to their housekeeping roles after a stressful day’s work to enable them balance their work to avoid role conflict.  

Work-life balance of women employees have become an important subject since time has changed from men earning  income for the family living alone to today’s world where both men and women share the responsibility of earning for the betterment of their family life. Women currently struggle a lot to establish their identity in this competitive world, both in the society as well as in their work life.  A great number of women working in industry in Onitsha seem to have problems on how to balance their work life and family life. As a result of this both their physical and psychological state are being affected. Most of them go to work in the morning, some come back late in the evening becoming tired and exhausted. Eventually they will face their house duties under stressful condition.. For working wives, there is role strain and time conflict which occur more frequently as a result of dual commitment to employment and to the family.  

Work- imbalance affects both the physical and mental health of workers.  Fatigue due to sleep deprivation and mental stress associated with work imbalance under stressful condition can reduce the quality of time spent. The stress associated with work imbalance among female industry workers who work night shifts and rotating shifts disturb the body’s circadian rhythms, alter physiological functions and potentially lead to chronic health conditions, anxiety, neurotic disorders and depression and chronic sleep deprivation and fatigue. Working women in Onitsha are faced with lot of challenges. The women cook, clean the house, do the dishes, wash clothes, get their children ready for school among others. So the major burden of running the family still lies on the shoulders of women. For instance, women employed in industries most times stay beyond the working hours to earn more money and yet are expected to take care of their traditional home activities and responsibilities after their work in the industry.

 Many a times when work and family lives are in conflict with each other. The women’s health is affected. Work-family conflicts exist when pressure from work and family roles are mutually incompatible, and that is when participation in one role interferes with participation in the other role. The challenges of integrating work and family life are, therefore part of everyday living of the majority of Nigerian working families. 

Family work balances provoke stressful conflict between work and private life of many employees especially female employees. This would likely have a negative impact on the industries as well as the families of the female employees. This can result to conflict that can affect almost all aspects of people’s lives/people’s families, their work place and even their own mental and physical health (Robbins, 2004). The conflict could arise from work interfering with the family life such as working overtime to meet demand of the jobs or from family demands when there is illness with a family member. This study, however, were attempt to investigate the work life balance of females in industries as it affects family meal, housekeeping and well being of families in Onitsha metropolis.  

       Although, some studies have accessed the challenges of women in paid work with emphasis on productivity and organizational commitments, but none has been done to the best of the researcher’s knowledge on family work balance of women working in the industry on strategies employed in balancing work and family life.  

Purpose of the Study

   The general purpose of the study was to ascertain the work-life balance among female industrial workers in Onitsha, Anambra State. 

Specifically, the study determined;

1.                  the influence of long working hours of female industrial workers on family meals in the family.

2.                  the influence of female work-life balance with regards to family well being.

3.                  the female work-life balance with regards to housekeeping.

4.                  the coping strategies employed by the female industrial workers to improve their worklife balance.

Significance of the Study

The findings of the study will be beneficial to the following: families, working class women, industrial policy makers, general public, government and future researchers, as all of them will find the result and information of the study useful.

On the part of the families, the findings of the study contributed to how family balance their work and family responsibilities with emphasis on the challenges women encounter in attempt to integrate work and family life as part of everyday reality. This will help them to put in place adequate measures to curtail stress in an attempt to balance work and family life. This could be achieved through seminars, workshops, during August meetings, conference and among others.

 The knowledge gained from this study will be useful to the females working in industries that are faced with work-life conflict. More so, working class women in various families can make use of the findings of the study to manage their time requirement for household chores and paid work that often result to role conflict. The findings from the strategy employed in coping with work-life balance will be of benefit to the working class women to know how to adjust their time for household chores and work responsibilities. 

The findings of the study would be of great benefits to the industrial policy makers. The facts obtain will serve as reference point when making policies that affect women which will avail the female workers opportunity to attend to non-work demands with minimal interference with work role thereby managing their time for the best interest of their child well being and training. To achieve a positive work-life balance, women should be pro-active and plan their professional and personal schedules well in advance so that both are equally balanced and the end result is satisfaction.

The general public will also benefit from the findings of the study through workshop, conference/seminar which will equally expose them to some coping strategies especially during stressful conditions. There should be a kind of social support and cognitive restructuring as reappraisal of an individual’s environment and relationship thereby making use of what is seen as seeming resources in the environment to deal with tense schedules or work overload. On the other hand, seeking social support, an employee may seek help in the form of advice information or insight on how to deal or balance work situation with non-work situation that has stress inducement.

Finally, the findings will also provide useful research materials for future researchers. Future researchers will also benefit immensely from the study because the date and information provided in the study will serve as secondary source of information in the work. Researchers will also find the study meaningful in the review of related literature and empirical studies especially when their work is related to work life balance on working class women, research into this sensitive aspect of life will shed more light on the coping strategies women adopt in their various homes to balance up work and family demands.

Research Questions

The study sets out to answer the following questions.

1.      What are the influence of long working hours on family meal?

2.      What are the influences of work-life balance on family wellbeing? 

3.      To what extent do work-life balance influence female industrial workers and housekeeping services?

4.      What are the coping strategies women employed to balance work in the industry and family life?


The following null hypotheses were formulated and were tested at 0.05 level of significance: 

1.      There is no significant difference in the mean response of female workers in government owned industry and private owned industry on the long working hours. 

2.      There is no significant difference in the mean response of female workers in the urban and rural areas, on their work life balance on family well being. 

3.      There is no significant difference in the mean response of female industrial workers in the urban and  rural areas on their work-life balance with regard to their housekeeping activities.       

4.      There is no significant difference in the mean response of senior female workers and junior female workers on their work-life balance as regards to their housekeeping activities.

Scope of the Study

This study was carried out in Onitsha, Anambra State South-East of Nigeria. It was restricted only to married female workers in industries in Onitsha, Anambra State. The study was delimited on work-life balance of women working in the industries as it affects their family meal, housekeeping services and well being of family members. The study invariably, investigates how they balance their work and family roles in Onitsha, Anambra State. 

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