Work-Life Balance and Women Academics in Higher Education: A Comparative Study of UK and Nigeria

Oginni, EVELYN ABIMBOLA 2021, Work-Life Balance and Women Academics in Higher Education: A Comparative Study of UK and Nigeria , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The shift from the male-breadwinner model to the dual career couples has led to widespread discussions around work-life balance, particularly for women due to an increased likelihood of managing caring commitments and domestic work. Despite extensive debates, the role of culture in influencing the work-life balance experiences of women has received much less attention. Where culture has been addressed in the work-life balance literature it has been confined to national contexts that share similar cultural characteristics. This thesis addresses this gap by exploring the work-life balance experiences of women academics in the UK and Nigeria. Utilizing role conflict theory; interviews, diary studies and participatory visual drawings show how the bi-directional impact of work and non-work domains into conflict. The research also addresses the impact of time-based conflict, on the experiences of women academics. It further utilizes spillover theory to understand the positive and negative spillover that occurs between the work and non-work domains of these women. Advance HE’s Athena SWAN gender equality charter is used as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the charter in alleviating some of the tension between work and home life in the UK and whether a similar approach might be useful for women academics in Nigeria. Culture was found to be deeply embedded in the lives of these women particularly with Nigeria having a high level of dominance in patriarchy. Women academics in Nigeria had greater share of household responsibilities and were more prone to prioritizing caring responsibilities which led to making choices that slowed down their career progression. Similarly in the UK, women academics with African, Asian and Irish backgrounds were more likely to hold perceptions of not fulfilling their duties as a woman than those with British backgrounds. Women academics in the UK worked longer and unsocial hours and were less inclined to take annual leave which was a contributing factor to the decline in their mental and physical health. Religion was also found to negatively impact working time in Nigeria and was also a major determinant of paid maternity leave. The findings confirm that women academics experience a high level of work-life conflict particularly work to life conflict which was more evident than life to work conflict although, this was more prevalent in Nigeria. It further revealed that women academics experience negative spillover between their work and non-work domains, in comparison to positive spillover. Women academics in the UK appeared to lack knowledge around the available work-life balance policies and practices, despite the Athena SWAN Charter. Evidence from the research shows that it is imperative for Higher Education Institutions to understand the cultural implications such that in the UK, considerations should be given when forming policies around promotion structures and in Nigeria, where they are lagging immensely, structures should be embedded to support women facing cultural barriers. The findings from this research will also be useful to Advance HE’s gender equality charter by informing them on issues that need to be addressed in order to effectively promote work- life balance

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Depositing User: EVELYN ABIMBOLA Oginni
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 15:47
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 02:30
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/63259

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