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Agricultural Diversification and Dietary Diversity: a Feminist Political Ecology of the Everyday Experiences of Landless and Smallholder Households in Northern Ghana

Citation:

Nyantaki-Frimpong, Hanson. 2017. “Agricultural Diversification and Dietary Diversity: a Feminist Political Ecology of the Everyday Experiences of Landless and Smallholder Households in Northern Ghana.” Geoforum 86: 63-75.

Author: Hanson Nyantaki-Frimpong

Abstract:

There is an emerging literature suggesting that when smallholder households diversify their agriculture, a wide range of food groups will be available, and consequently, dietary diversity will be improved. The present article brings this literature into critical conversation with research in feminist political ecology. Grounded in five years of repeated fieldwork, the article weaves together 70 in-depth interviews, and dietary as well as farm production diversity data from 30 households in northern Ghana. This dataset is analyzed by considering not only the diversity of farming systems, but also household headship, including male-headed, de facto female-headed, and de jure female-headed. Among other findings, the paper suggests that dietary diversity scores are lowest for households who have lost their farmlands to on-going land grabbing in Ghana. Furthermore, the paper suggests that while agricultural diversification is essential, it is not sufficient in itself to address nutritional challenges confronting smallholder households. In the contested and political arena of the household, the gendered politics of access to food can deeply shape how agricultural diversification contributes to dietary diversity. Overall, I do not wish to conclude that there are no benefits of increasing the diversity of farm production. Rather, I wish to stress that farm production diversity might not be the best or only strategy to improving dietary diversity among rural households. Through this case study, I also contribute to emerging research in new feminist political ecologies by demonstrating how the intersection of gender, seniority, marital status, and sexual politics shapes resource access and control.

Keywords: farm production diversity, dietary diversity, land, gender, feminist political ecology, Ghana

Topics: Agriculture, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Households, Intersectionality, Land Grabbing Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2017

The Poverty of Neoliberalized Feminism: Gender Equality in a ‘Best Practice’ Large-Scale Land Investment in Ghana

Citation:

Lanz, Kristina, Elisabeth Prügl, and Jean-David Gerber. 2020. “The Poverty of Neoliberalized Feminism: Gender Equality in a ‘Best Practice’ Large-Scale Land Investment in Ghana.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 47 (3): 525-43.

Authors: Kristina Lanz, Elisabeth Prügl, Jean-David Gerber

Abstract:

Feminist ideas have entered the neoliberal agricultural development agenda, including increasingly ubiquitous public-private partnerships and businesses. Rhetorically committed to gender equality, these new development actors have reduced equality to a matter of numbers, seeking to include women in their projects while disregarding intersectionally gendered power relations that suffuse any development context. This article seeks to illustrate how such power relations inhabit business-led development projects. Based on ethnographic research of a ‘best practice’ large-scale land investment in Ghana's Volta Region, we argue that a narrow focus on including women and superficial Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) promises fail to address intersectional inequalities because they pay inadequate attention to local institutions for resource management and the power relations they embed. Focusing on gender equality without regard to local institutions at best serves to empower a few well-connected women and at worst acts as a cover-up of highly exploitative practices.

Keywords: gender, intersectionality, large-scale land investment, institutions, power relations

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality, Land Grabbing Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Intersections of Gender and Water: Comparative Approaches to Everyday Gendered Negotiations of Water Access in Underserved Areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa

Citation:

Harris, L., D. Kleiber, J. Goldin, A. Darkwah, and C. Morinville. 2016. "Intersections of Gender and Water: Comparative Approaches to Everyday Gendered Negotiations of Water Access in Underserved Areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa." Journal of Gender Studies 26 (5): 561-82.

Authors: L. Harris, D. Kleiber, J. Goldin, A. Darkwah, C. Morinville

Abstract:

A large and growing body of literature suggests that women and men often have differentiated relationships to water access, uses, knowledges, governance, and experiences. From a feminist political ecology perspective, these relationships can be mediated by gendered labour practices (within the household, at the community level, or within the workplace), socio-cultural expectations (e.g. related to notions of masculinity and femininity), as well as intersectional differences (e.g. race, income, and so forth). While these relationships are complex, multiple, and vary by context, it is frequently argued that due to responsibility for domestic provision or other pathways, women may be particularly affected if water quality or access is compromised. This paper reports on a statistical evaluation of a 478 household survey conducted in underserved areas of Accra, Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa in early 2012. Interrogating our survey results in the light of the ideas of gender differentiated access, uses, knowledges, governance, and experiences of water, we open up considerations related to the context of each of our study sites, and also invite possible revisions and new directions for these debates. In particular, we are interested in the instances where differences among male and female respondents were less pronounced than expected. Highlighting these unexpected results we find it helpful to draw attention to methods – in particular we argue that a binary male–female approach is not that meaningful for the analysis, and instead, gender analysis requires some attention to intersectional differences (e.g. homeownership, employment, or age). We also make the case for the importance of combining qualitative and quantitative work to understand these relationships, as well as opening up what might be learned by more adequately exploring the resonances and tensions between these approaches.

Keywords: Ghana, South Africa, gender, water, methods, triangulation, intersectionality

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gender Analysis, Governance, Households, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Intersectionality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, South Africa

Year: 2016

Scaling Up Gender Mainstreaming in Transport: Policies, Practices and Monitoring Processes

Citation:

Njenga, Peter, and Nite Tanzarn. 2020. “Scaling Up Gender Mainstreaming in Transport: Policies, Practices and Monitoring Processes.” Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Transport 173 (2): 64–75.

Authors: Peter Njenga, Nite Tanzarn

Abstract:

Four rural transport programmes, one each in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, were reviewed in respect of gender mainstreaming. National gender frameworks and transport policies were analysed for each country. The four countries have constitutional, policy and legislative frameworks that underpin the principles of gender equality. Gender mainstreaming measures have further been cascaded downwards into sector policies, including transport. The programmes reviewed showed good practices in integration of gender across the project cycle. However, it is notable that the programmes reviewed were donor-funded and thus were significantly influenced by the gender policies of the funding mechanisms. While it was not ascertained if government-funded rural transport programmes had similarly embedded gender integration issues, there is undoubtedly a good foundation that has been laid through the programmes reviewed in this study. This practice needs to be replicated and institutionalised so that it becomes a common norm across all transport programmes. An important part of this is for national governments to ensure sector-wide enforcement of the constitutional and legislative gender precepts. The case study programmes reviewed have put in place some good gender performance assessment tools, which provide examples of the tools that could be made mandatory as part of gender accountability in the transport sector.

Keywords: developing countries, knowledge management, public policy

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Infrastructure, Transportation Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda

Year: 2020

Gender Dimension of Vulnerability to Climate Change and Variability: Empirical Evidence of Smallholder Farming Households in Ghana

Citation:

Alhassan, Suhiyini I., John K.M. Kuwornu, and Yaw B. Osei-Asare. 2019. "Gender Dimension of Vulnerability to Climate Change and Variability: Empirical Evidence of Smallholder Farming Households in Ghana." International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 11 (2): 195-214.

Authors: Suhiyini I. Alhassan, John K.M. Kuwornu, Yaw B. Osei-Asare

Abstract:

Purpose: This paper aims to investigate farmers’ vulnerability to climate change and variability in the northern region of Ghana. 
 
Design/methodology/approach: The study assessed the vulnerability of male-headed and female-headed farming households to climate change and variability by using the livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) and tested for significant difference in their vulnerability levels by applying independent two-sample-student’s t-test based on gender by using a sample of 210 smallholder farming households. 
 
Findings: The results revealed a significant difference in the vulnerability levels of female-headed and male-headed farming households. Female–headed households were more vulnerable to livelihood strategies, socio-demographic profile, social networks, water and food major components of the LVI, whereas male-headed households were more vulnerable to health. The vulnerability indices revealed that female–headed households were more sensitive to the impact of climate change and variability. However, female-headed households have the least adaptive capacities. In all, female-headed farming households are more vulnerable to climate change and variability than male-headed farming households. 
 
Research limitations/implications: The study recommends that female-headed households should be given priority in both on-going and new intervention projects in climate change and agriculture by empowering them through financial resource support to venture into other income-generating activities. This would enable them to diversify their sources of livelihoods to boost their resilience to climate change and variability. 
 
Originality/value: This is the first study that examined the gender dimension of vulnerability of smallholder farmers in Ghana by using the livelihood vulnerability framework. Female subordination in northern region of Ghana has been profound to warrant a study on gender dimension in relation to climate change and variability, especially as it is a semi-arid region with unpredictable climatic conditions. This research revealed the comparative vulnerability of male- and female-headed households to climate change and variability.

Keywords: Ghana, gender, livelihood vulnerability, smallholder farmers, climate change and variability

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

Gender Dimensions of Climate Change Adaptation Practices: The Experiences of Smallholder Crop Farmers in the Transition Zone of Ghana

Citation:

Wrigley-Asante, Charlotte, Kwadwo Owusu, Irene S. Egyir, and Tom Mboya Owiyo. 2019. "Gender Dimensions of Climate Change Adaptation Practices: The Experiences of Smallholder Crop Farmers in the Transition Zone of Ghana." African Geographical Review 38 (2): 126-39.

Authors: Charlotte Wrigley-Asante, Kwadwo Owusu, Irene S. Egyir, Tom Mboya Owiyo

Abstract:

This paper discusses the gender dimensions of climate change adaptation strategies among small holder crop farmers in the transition zone of Ghana. A total of 612 farmers (328 females and 284 males) were interviewed using purposive sampling technique. Our results indicate that adaptation strategies are gendered with men mostly resorting to on-farm agronomic practices such as the use of artificial fertilizers and also moving into new cash crops. Female farmers also use similar on-farm agronomic practices particularly artificial fertilizers to boost crop production but most importantly resorted to petty trading in agricultural and consumable goods, an off-farm strategy. This shows women’s resilience which has also subsequently improved their decision-making role at the household level, which is an indicator of empowerment. We recommend that institutions that support climate change adaptation initiatives at the local level must take gender differences into consideration and support particularly women to strengthen their resilience and consolidate their empowerment.

Keywords: gender, climate change, adaptation, Ghana, women, men

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

Gendered Perception and Vulnerability to Climate Change in Urban Slum Communities in Accra, Ghana

Citation:

Owusu, Mensah, Melissa Nursey-Bray, and Diane Rudd. 2019. "Gendered Perception and Vulnerability to Climate Change in Urban Slum Communities in Accra, Ghana." Regional Environmental Change 19: 13-25.

Authors: Mensah Owusu, Melissa Nursey-Bray, Diane Rudd

Abstract:

Climate change is known to have differential impacts in the Global South, with gender and poverty being determining factors. In Ghana, both these factors come into play as women living in slums bear the brunt of the impacts. In spite of this, the majority of research in gender and climate change adaptation has focused on rural communities to the detriment of their poor urban counterparts. Using a critical feminist intersectional approach, this study investigates how the interplay between gender, socio-economic, institutional and place-based factors shapes vulnerability to climate change in three slums in urban Accra, Ghana. The results demonstrate that while climate change poses serious environmental hazards to all residents of slums, their perceptions and knowledge regarding the causes and impacts of these hazards are differentiated by gender, age, educational status and place-based variables, with women generally showing a lower level of awareness about climate change than their male counterparts. The results indicate further that irrespective of age, educational attainment and where people live, women were found to be overall more vulnerable, despite experiencing similar levels of exposure as the men, by virtue of their limited access to productive resources, poor conditions of housing, low participation in adaptation decision-making, as well as the heavy domestic responsibilities placed on them. We conclude that it is imperative for adaptation policy makers to formulate and implement appropriate adaptive measures in a gender-sensitive and context-specific manner to respond to the different vulnerabilities faced by different categories of social groups and communities in cities of the Global South.

Topics: Age, Economies, Poverty, Education, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Intersectionality Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

Gender and Climate Risk Management: Evidence of Climate Information Use in Ghana

Citation:

Partey, Samuel T., Angela D. Dakorah, Robert B Zougmoré, Mathieu Ouédraogo, Mary Nyasimi, Gordon K. Nikoi, and Sophia Huyer. 2020. "Gender and Climate Risk Management: Evidence of Climate Information Use in Ghana." Climate Change 158: 61-75.

Authors: Samuel T. Partey, Angela D. Dakorah, Robert B. Zougmoré, Mathieu Ouédraogo, Mary Nyasimi, Gordon K. Nikoi, Sophia Huyer

Abstract:

The gender perspective of climate information use is not well studied although necessary for developing gender-responsive climate information services (CIS). This study determined how CIS use by men and women farmers may be influenced by their perceptions about climate change (CC), farm activities, and demography. The study was carried out at the Lawra-Jirapa Districts of the Upper West Region of Ghana where downscaled seasonal forecast information through mobile phone technologies (Esoko platform) had been disseminated to farmers since 2011. Data was collected from semi-structured questionnaire interviews involving 900 farmers (50.2% women and 49.8% men) and four 20-member focus group discussions. The study confirmed 85.2% (representing 767) farmers were aware of climate change and its implications for their agriculture and other livelihood activities. Men and women had similar perceptions about climate change, perceived by the majority as increased strong winds, higher temperatures, increased frequency of drought, increased rainfall variability and increased flooding. Among other factors, it was evident that use of CIS may be influenced by gender. Men were found to be particularly responsive in adopting CIS use for climate risk mitigation. This was attributed to their ability to easily access and use telephone devices compared with women. The study revealed that unlike women, men were able to access more financial resources and had control of household income which allowed them to purchase mobile phones. Women generally accessed their husbands’ mobile phones. Despite differences in access to CIS, the study showed both men and women found it beneficial for strategic farm decision-making such as when to begin land preparation, when to plant, and which crop to select. In addition, both men and women were found to face similar constrains (such as poor network connectivity and limited of training), to accessing and using CIS through the Esoko platform. The study recommends the need to explore different CIS dissemination channels and design CIS that meet gender-specific needs.

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Households, Infrastructure, Information & Communication Technologies, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Dealing with Climate Change in Semi-Arid Ghana: Understanding Intersectional Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies of Women Farmers

Citation:

Lawson, Elaine T., Rahinatu Sidiki Alare, Abdul Rauf Zanya Salifu, and Mary Thompson-Hall. 2020. "Dealing with Climate Change in Semi-Arid Ghana: Understanding Intersectional Perceptions and Adaptation Strategies of Women Farmers." GeoJournal 85: 439-52.

Authors: Elaine T. Lawson, Rahinatu Sidiki Alare, Abdul Rauf Zanya Salifu, Mary Thompson-Hall

Abstract:

Climate change has diverse physical and socio-economic implications for communities in semi-arid areas. While several studies have sought to understand the underlying power relations that shape adaptive capacities of rural farmers, fewer studies have focused on unpacking the differences within the different social groups. In this paper, we present a case study based on women smallholder farmers from semi-arid Ghana. It explores their nuanced perceptions of climate variability and highlights how gender intersects with other identities, roles and responsibilities to influence adaptation strategies and barriers to adaptation in the semi-arid context. Farm-level data was collected from 103 women farmers using semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Rainfall patterns were perceived by the women farmers to be increasingly erratic and perceptions of average temperatures were that they are increasing. Adoption of adaptation strategies were influenced by socio-demographic factors such as age, marital and residential status, which also influenced decision-making and power dynamics within the household. The paper highlighted the complex relationships that mediate women farmers’ access to resources and influence their vulnerability to climate variability and change. Highlighting the intra-gender differences that shaped the adaptation options and adaptive capacity is a prerequisite for proper adaptation policy planning and targeting.

Keywords: adaptation, adaptive capacity, climate variability and change, farmers, Ghana, perceptions

Topics: Age, Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Households, Intersectionality, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Vulnerability of Ghanian Women Cocoa Farmers to Climate Change: A Typology

Citation:

Friedman, Rachel, Mark A. Hirons, and Emily Boyd. 2019. "Vulnerability of Ghanian Women Cocoa Farmers to Climate Change: A Typology." Climate and Development 11 (5): 446-58.

Authors: Rachel Friedman, Mark A. Hirons, Emily Boyd

Abstract:

Climate change, increasingly recognized as a hurdle to achieving sustainable development goals, has already begun impacting the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, including on the African continent. Vulnerability is a concept often employed in the context of climate change to identify risks and develop policy and adaptation measures that address current and projected impacts. However, it is situated in a broader social context, driven by factors such as land tenure and access, livelihood diversification, and empowerment, which single out historically marginalized groups like women. This paper applies a vulnerability framework to a case study of cocoa farming in the Central Region of Ghana, depicting not only the variety of factors contributing to climate change vulnerability but also different narratives on vulnerability that emerge based on a woman’s relation to cocoa production itself. The paper conveys how homogeneous representations of women farmers and the technical focus of climate-orientated policy interventions may threaten to further marginalize the most vulnerable and exacerbate existing inequalities. This has implications for both climate change policy design and implementation, as well as the broader social development agenda that has bearing on vulnerability.

Keywords: gender, vulnerability, agriculture, climate change, Africa

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2019

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