Measuring the Gender Asset Gap in Ghana

 There is an increasing recognition that the ownership of, access to and control over assets constitute a critical element in the determination of the well-being of households and individuals. Owing largely to data constraints, however, there has been a tendency for studies on assets and well-being/poverty to use the household as the unit of analysis. Such an approach tends to ignore the importance of intra-household disparities in asset ownership and well-being. Moreover, the dearth of individual-level data on asset ownership makes it extremely difficult to analyze gender disparities in asset ownership, wealth and well-being. As rightly noted by Grown et al. (2005), this lack of data seriously hampers efforts to track the progress of countries toward the Millennium Development Goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The project, In Her Name: Measuring the Gender-Asset Gap in Ecuador, India and Ghana, was created in 2009 by an international team of researchers as part of efforts to understand the extent of the gender asset gap in order to effectively redress it. With initial funding from the Dutch Foreign Ministry MDG3 Fund, the project has collected individual-level asset data in these three countries. Extensive qualitative work in each country led to the creation of survey questionnaires that allowed for both international comparisons and the development of comparable measures of the gender asset and gender wealth gaps, while also ensuring that the results would be relevant in the local context to answer policy relevant questions. The surveys were fielded in 2010 to 2011. Data was collected that is nationally representative of Ecuador and Ghana and is representative at the level of the state of Karnataka in India.

This publication presents findings from the Ghana Household Asset Survey conducted in 2010. The data was collected by the Department of Economics of the University of Ghana. The main research questions are:
  • What are the patterns of asset ownership by men and women?
  • What is the extent of owners’ rights over their assets and are there gender differences in these rights?
  • What are the main channels of asset acquisition for men and women?
  • Is there a relationship between asset ownership and household decision-making and how does it differ between men and women?

Abena D. Oduro
W. Baah-Boateng
L. Boakye-Yiadom