Increasing entrepreneurial opportunities for women can be an empowering process that contradicts and helps overcome established gender norms. This process can be aided by facilitating rural-urban migration for women, to access new job opportunities, networks, markets, and resources not available in rural areas. This paper presents a case study describing this process, and how migration has helped to empower women living in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Based on a 2011 survey of 160 women, the paper captures the impacts migration has had on women in the city of Ibadan, discussing the opportunities that drew women there, and breaking down the data according to whether women were single, married, divorced, or widowed at the time of their migration. Next, the paper examines the opportunities and challenges that can either empower or disempower women migrants, and compares age, marital status, education, and type of employment to tease out any strong correlations that help determine how empowering, or otherwise, migration can be for different women.
The survey found that the majority of participants were self-employed, both before and after they migrated to Ibadan. Married women predominantly migrated because of their husband’s decision, and sought to empower themselves in entrepreneurial activities once settled. A common theme among all respondents was that entrepreneurship and business was a key facet in improving their lives, both personally and professionally, together with family, and friendship interaction. However, little data exists examining the cultural differences in determining the success or failure of migrant women, something that requires further research.