• Gendered Power Relations and Household Decision Making in Rural Ghana. A study of Zambo in the Lawra District of the Upper West Region of Ghana

      Bieteru, Anella N.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Some Western scholarship on African studies have shown that patriarchy is absolute in many African societies and women are mostly the victims of this system. Such patriarchy has created wide gender gaps between men and women, resulting in women being either overlooked, oppressed, or suppressed. The main aim of this research was to examine the nature of gender relations and gendered power dynamics between husbands and wives, and how such power dynamics impact women’s household decision-making powers. Drawing on African feminist epistemologies and feminist standpoint theories, this research drew significantly from the experiences and narratives of 10 rural women, who form the most marginalized demographic in Ghana. The study focused on decisions around reproduction and child upbringing, household income generation and distribution, and religious practices. Findings reveal that women bear major economic responsibilities in their families, making them the ultimate decision-makers in almost all aspects of household decision-making. However, they are constrained by many social, economic, and cultural factors that limit their opportunities to gain any economic or social independence. The findings further show that women, in their subordinate positions, are capable of resisting patriarchal power in complex ways despite public declarations of rural African women as powerless. The study recommends that future research should investigate, among other things, the varied ways in which both the state and non-governmental organizations may promote both the social and economic development of women. Further research could highlight the perspectives of men considering the negative views women have of men.