Entrepreneurship in Northern Nigeria used to be male dominated because only men owned businesses and controlled factors of production which caused gender imbalance in the control of wealth. This infamous trend is however beginning to dwindle especially in the last two decades but not at a satisfactory speed.
This article focuses on Northern Nigerian women because they are at a significant disadvantage with respect to self sufficiency compared to the southern regions of the country, and also very little is known about their entrepreneurial engagements, in addition this article aims to examine the core hindrances to female northern entrepreneurs as well as highlighting the key factors that impede Northern Nigerian women from starting up entrepreneurial ventures.
Entrepreneurship plays an important role in economic empowerment of the perceived disadvantaged segment of the population of which women form a larger part in the Nigerian context, in the Northern part of Nigeria necessity rather than opportunity was identified as the propellant for women business ownership, many women are in business based on economic necessity and lack of other employment options, Northern women often choose the type of income generating activities that are less visible on the value chain, majority of the respondents used their personal funds to start their business and operate home based and unregistered businesses that could hardly pay for levy for the operation of their business, contrary to the traditional buying and selling businesses women did in the past.
In this study we found out that illiteracy, cultural practices, oppression and lack of independence present themselves as the major impediments to Northern women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities. In Northern Nigeria women are often treated as minors and subservient , even though the Nigerian constitution gives women equal rights as men (Mordi et . al 2010).
This value system is reinforced by religious philosophies that are based on patriarchal thought systems in which the God given roles of women are that of mother and wife caring roles and obligations that often extend outside the immediate family. The asymmetry and ascendancy of males over females in the labor market are clearly seen in patriarchal communities, whereas in Nigeria there is a large power distance and high masculinity where customs place the obligation on the male child to be the economic provider, emotional protector and leader (Hofstede,1980).
Men’s successes are hardly complete without the contributions of women, it will be justifiable to assert that the economic prosperity of the merchant classes in Northern Nigeria today would have been impossible without the support of the hidden activities of secluded Northern women who are full time house wives. Northern women are frequently perceived as oppressed and subjugated people with marginal economic role in the society. this article will like to is strongly emphasis that through the hidden economic activities in their households, Northern women can by pass the open market and contribute significantly to the economic progress of the society.
As the slogan goes what a man can do , a woman can do and even better. Presently, Northern women are becoming very successful in their various entrepreneurial ventures. They stand as strong independent Northern women who serve as role models to the young upcoming Northern females, most especially in the capital of our country Abuja, the Northern female entrepreneurs keep increasing by the day with their incredible ventures and services. For incredible make-up we have Fatima Mamza and I-Laura, for beautiful gowns and ready to wears we have Le-Rouge by Amma, Fattush and Falke by Aisha, for tasty treats we have Shaatu Labo,Ruqaiyatu and Zara Sada, these are just few of our fierce and hardworking women.
Thus although the Northern culture influences the form and nature of women’s participation, it does not cut them off from political , economical , religious and artistic aspects of life. (Coles and Mack 1991:12). Northern women should be given the opportunity to express their art and ideas and with no doubt the Nigerian economy will improve drastically.