Women’s Autonomy in Northern and Southern Ghana: Does Religion Matter?

Kamil Fuseini, North-West University, South Africa
Ishmael Kalule-Sabiti, North-West University, South Africa

This paper examines the relationship between religion and women’s autonomy in northern and southern Ghana. Using data from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey with an analytic sample of 2581 women, the results indicate that Muslim women are as autonomous as Christian women once region and socio-cultural factors are controlled. The influence of religion on women’s autonomy, however, varies between the north and south. Muslim women are less autonomous compared to Christian women in the north; in the south, Muslim women are as autonomous as Christian women. Contrary to expectation, women in the north, disadvantaged in terms of education, early marriage etc., are more autonomous than women in the south (the developed setting which is expected to be more egalitarian). In general women are limited in decision-making in households and largely participate as opposed to having the major say.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Population Aging; Gender, Race and Ethnicity