Changing gender roles in agriculture?: Evidence from 20 years of data in Ghana
This discussion paper (PDF) by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides a unique overview of changes in gender patterns in agriculture during more than 20 years in Ghana. At a time when donors and governments are increasing efforts to mainstream gender in agriculture, it is critical to revisit long-standing wisdom about rural women and men farmers to be able to more efficiently design and evaluate policy interventions. Many stylized facts about women in agriculture have been repeated for decades. This study uses longitudinal data from Ghana to assess some of the facts and to evaluate whether gender patterns have changed over time. There is a focus on five main themes: land, cropping patterns, market participation, agricultural inputs, and employment. Major gender issues persevere in women’s access to land as well as access to input and output markets. Yet once the entry barrier is overcome, women and men seem to follow similar agricultural patterns. Important variations exist at the level of the agroecological zone and women’s positions within households. The evidence provided calls for more nuanced statements about gender trends in agriculture. A larger openness by researchers and governmental and nongovernmental agencies is needed toward what can be detected from solid data rather than what is expected based on commonly voiced gender myths or what would be beneficial to successful fundraising campaigns. More up-to-date genderdisaggregated data that facilitate a more precise analysis and interpretation of gender gaps are imperative.