Power and process: women’s influence in the process of decision-making in Ghana

Naa Dodoo, University of Ghana
Francis Dodoo, Pennsylvania State University

In this paper, we posit that the measure of household decision-making commonly used; that of ‘who has the “final say” in making a decision’, has often hidden the real amount of influence women have. We use primary data from three focus group discussions with married men and women and a survey of 391 women in Ga Mashie, Accra, Ghana, to develop a novel quantitative measure of the process of decision-making. With this measure, we investigate how much of an influence women have in decision-making in four arenas of household decisions. The results indicate that women are not relegated to the background in household decision-making as much as using only “final say” suggests. Women who do not have “final say” still do have some involvement in decision-making, and even women who are not involved in the “final say” in decision-making may have greater influence than those who have the “final say”. Further, the patterns of women’s involvement differ for different arenas of household decision-making. Refining the method will increase its potential as a viable tool that can be used to study decision-making processes in detail and provide generalizable population estimates.

Keywords: Family demography, Methodology, Gender

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  Presented in Session 83. Data and Methods: A Medley of Perspectives