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Why Would She? Polygyny and Women's Welfare in Ghana

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  • Amy Ickowitz
  • Lisa Mohanty

Abstract

This study examines whether polygynous marriages are beneficial to women in Ghana. While some scholars claim that women benefit from such marriages in terms of higher consumption or leisure time, others believe that such relationships can be oppressive for women, as compared to monogamous relationships. Using household data from the 2005/6 Ghanaian Living Standards Measurement Survey V and the 2008 Ghanaian Demographic Health Survey, this study finds little evidence to support the view that women experience economic benefits from these unions. Polygynous women in Ghana tend to be more accepting of and experience more domestic violence, and they have less decision-making power within the household than women in monogamous marriages. Thus, there seems to be more evidence to support the view of polygyny as an oppressive institution rather than the outcome of a woman's rational choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Ickowitz & Lisa Mohanty, 2015. "Why Would She? Polygyny and Women's Welfare in Ghana," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 77-104, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:21:y:2015:i:2:p:77-104
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2014.992931
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    Cited by:

    1. Owoo, Nkechi S. & Upton, Joanna & Bageant, Elizabeth, 2017. "Food Insecurity and Family Structure in Nigeria," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258469, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Elisabeth Cudeville & Charlotte Guénard & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2017. "Polygamy and female labour supply in Senegal," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-127, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Elisabeth Cudeville & Charlotte Guénard & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2017. "Polygamy and female labour supply in Senegal," WIDER Working Paper Series 127, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Yokying, Phanwin & Lambrecht, Isabel, 2020. "Landownership and the gender gap in agriculture: Insights from northern Ghana," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).

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