Are wealth transfers biased against girls?: Gender differences in land inheritance and schooling investment in Ghana's western region | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
janvier 2004
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ISBN / Resource ID: 

This study attempts to analyse changing patterns of land transfer and ownership, as well as school investments by gender over three generations in customary land areas of Ghana's Western Region. Traditional inheritance rules deny land ownership rights to women. Yet the increase in the demand for women's labour due to the expansion of labour intensive cocoa cultivation has created incentives for husbands to give their wives and children land. Through this and other gift mechanisms, women have increasingly acquired land, thereby reducing the gender gap in land ownership. The gender gap in schooling has also declined significantly, though it persists. Findings suggest that changes to the increase in women's bargaining power are due to the introduction of the agricultural technology for cocoa farming, which has increased the demand for women's labour. This increasing demand for female labour as land use intensifies has, in turn, increased the transfer of land to wives and daughters. Such long-term changes have been supported by the absence of strong parental discrimination against daughters. Gender differences in schooling have been also declining in Ghana's Western Region, primarily because of declining social discrimination. Although the social and economic forces underlying such changes were not analysed as part of the study, a possible explanation is that building schools in remote villages and increasing non-farm employment opportunities for women have increased parental investments in daughters' schooling.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

A. Quisumbing
E. Payongayong
K. Otsuka



The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. Established in 1975, IFPRI currently has more than 500 employees working in over 50 countries. It is a research center of theCGIAR Consortium, a worldwide partnership engaged in agricultural research for development.

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BRIDGE is a research and information programme located within IDS Knowledge Services. We are part of a global movement whose vision is a world where gender equality, dignity and social justice prevail, where poverty is eliminated and where human rights – including women’s rights - are realised.

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