THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 9, No. 1, 2011
Recycling Poverty through Domestic Service and Adolescent Motherhood
Lorretta F.C. Ntoimo
Department of Sociology Faculty of the Social Sciences University of Ibadan, Ibadan
Engagement in domestic service and adolescent motherhood are two life experiences that impinge on women’s life chances and promote inter-generational transmission of poverty. This research examines the socio-economic contexts of domestic service and adolescent childbearing among women from Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria; the link between the two variables and their nexus with poverty. Empirical data for the study were drawn from two life histories and twenty-one In-depth Interviews with women who have experience in domestic service, and those who became mothers as adolescents. The primary determinant of adolescent motherhood and engagement in domestic service is poor socio-economic background. Other significant predisposing factors are negative cultural beliefs that a woman’s niche is marriage and motherhood, orphanhood and social network with older domestic servants. Domestic service is found to expose girls to adolescent pregnancy, and adolescent motherhood leads to involvement in domestic work. Domestic service attracts low pay, has a semblance of slavery and the future well being of women engaged in it is uncertain. Further education and opportunities for livelihood skill are stalled for women who become adolescent mothers. This study provides information useful for policies to protect the rights of domestic workers and vulnerable adolescent girls, as well as for poverty alleviation.
Keywords: domestic service, adolescent motherhood, poverty, orphanhood, intergenerational