TITLE

Polygyny, gender relations, and reproduction in Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Agadjanian, Victor; Ezeh, Alex Chika
PUB. DATE
September 2000
SOURCE
Journal of Comparative Family Studies;Autumn2000, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p427
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The article examines the effect of polygyny on gender relations and reproductive processes in Ghana. Generally missing in these studies is an examination of the link between polygyny levels and the pattern of gender relations observed in an area. Understanding the effect of aggregate polygyny levels on the nature and pattern of gender relations may be central to our understanding of the effects of polygyny on reproductive processes. In this study an attempt to examine these effects by using primarily qualitative data from Ghana was made. The high prevalence of polygyny in an area, being itself a product of social inequality between sexes, acts to reinforce and perpetuate this inequality through cultural norms and prescriptions that govern gender relations, and these norms and prescriptions apply equally to both monogamous and polygynous couples. In areas with higher prevalence of polygyny, married women-both in monogamous and polygynous unions are more marginalized in social, economic, and reproductive decision-making, compared to areas with lower polygyny levels. In a higher-polygyny environment women's position and roles in the household are seen as easily replaceable, which undermines their relative bargaining position vis-a-vis their husbands in major household decisions.
ACCESSION #
4082100

 

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