The dilemma of women empowerment in informal artisanal and small-scale gold ore mining in Ghana

Available online first at: taylorfrancis.com

James Natia Adam, Timothy Adams, Jean-David Gerber &Michèle Amacker |Michael Hardman (Reviewing editor)
James Natia Adam, Timothy Adams, Jean-David Gerber &Michèle Amacker |Michael Hardman (Reviewing editor)

Institute of Geography, University of Bern; Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies, University of Bern

Abstract:

For several years, women demand more decision-making power from their husbands and the society. Studies indicate that egalitarian decision-making power can be beneficial in many important ways to the household and society, and the pathway to this desire policy objective is through women empowerment. Yet, this is not as obvious as it seems. On the one hand, women empowerment is a game changer. On the other hand, the problem of women empowerment is complex. Thus, our goal is to evaluate the gendered intersectional power dynamics operating in informal artisanal and small-scale mining and the impact on women’s empowerment to balance decision-making power in the household. Theoretically, we ask: How does women empowerment enable women to demand more decision-making power from their husbands following their participation in informal mining? And how do men react to women empowerment? Empirically, 38 biographic interviews, 6 key informant interviews and 8 focus group discussions were conducted. Results show that informal mining improves the financial power of women and increases their bargaining power to demand more decision-making power from their husbands. Moreover, increase in women’s financial leverage can have a nuanced effect on their empowerment since men can intervene there by playing on the patriarchal rules. In conclusion, women empowerment is complex, and the major challenge is societal. Consequently, policy actions are required to vigorously address societal norms through formal education and awareness creation to bring about transformations.

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