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Using the WEAI+ to explore gender equity and agricultural empowerment: Baseline evidence among men and women smallholder farmers in Ghana's Northern Region

Ragsdale, Kathleen, Read-Wahidi, Mary R., Wei, Tianlan, Martey, Edward, Goldsmith, Peter
Journal of rural studies 2018 v.64 pp. 123-134
assets, citizen participation, crop production, decision making, farmers, gender, men, socioeconomic status, technical training, women in agriculture, Ghana
We present results from the baseline Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index+Soybean Modules (WEAI+), which was implemented among men and women smallholder farmers in Ghana's rural Northern Region. The WEAI+ provides a framework for quantitatively analyzing gender equity among respondents in four local districts that varied in soybean production. Analysis across the ten WEAI indicators found that a majority of respondents lacked adequate empowerment in workload and over one-third lacked adequate empowerment in autonomy in production (both percentages were nearly identical when disaggregated by gender). However, women farmers were significantly more likely to lack adequate empowerment in input in productive decisionmaking, purchase, sale, or transfer of assets, and speaking in public. After controlling for education, socioeconomic status, and district, women farmers still lacked adequate empowerment across these indicators, even among men and women farmers within the same household. Results suggest that providing culturally grounded opportunities to enhance women farmers' input into agricultural decisionmaking, control over assets, and public participation regarding important agricultural issues and access to technical trainings are critical entry points to increasing agricultural empowerment among women smallholder farmers in Ghana's Northern Region, and these may be applicable to other countries and regions in sub-Saharan Africa.