- In Ghana, women are less likely than men to have secondary education (37% vs. 45%) or post-secondary education (13% vs. 24%). More women than men have no formal education (20% vs. 11%).
- Women trail men significantly in ownership of important assets, including a mobile phone (90% vs. 95%), a bank account (42% vs. 57%), a motor vehicle (12% vs. 37%), and a computer (13% vs. 26%).
- Strong majorities of Ghanaians say women should have the same rights as men to get paying jobs (66%) and to own and inherit land (85%). Men are less likely than women to support gender equality in hiring and land rights.
- More than three-fourths (78%) of Ghanaians say women should have the same chance as men of being elected to public office.
- Two-thirds (67%) of Ghanaians say the government should do more to promote equal rights and opportunities for women.
Globally, women continue to trail men in education, economic opportunity, political leadership, and other areas. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 – achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by 2030 – appears even more remote given the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic (United Nations, 2022; UN Women, 2022).
Ghana is doing worse than most countries in advancing toward gender equality, according to the 2021 Global Gender Gap Index, which ranks Ghana 117th out of 156 countries – 23rd in sub-Saharan Africa – on its progress (World Economic Forum, 2021). The index report notes that women’s income in Ghana is just 29.2% of men’s, second-worst on the continent after Mali (28.1%).
Similarly, Ghana’s 2021 census (Ghana Statistical Service, 2021a, 2021b) found that while women outnumber men in the service sector, they are underrepresented at management levels. More girls and women than boys and men have never attended school and lack literacy. Among 275 parliamentarians in Ghana, only 40 (14.6%) are women, and among 6,000 assembly members across the country, only 216 (3.6%) are women (Parliament of Ghana, 2022; allAfrica.com, 2022).
Ghana’s commitment to gender equality is reflected in its Constitution, which prohibits gender discrimination and mandates “reasonable regional and gender balance in recruitment and appointment to public offices” (Republic of Ghana, 1996); its ratification of the Maputo Protocol (African Union, 2005) and other international agreements; and its national policy and institutional framework (Women and Girls Empowered, 2022). But its long- awaited Affirmative Action Bill, which calls for a progressive increase in women’s active participation in the public bureaucracy to achieve parity by 2030, has yet to be passed, despite government promises to do so in 2017 and 2020 (Ghana Today, 2022).
This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2022) questionnaire to explore Africans’ experiences and perceptions of gender equality.
Survey findings show that in Ghana, women still lag behind men in educational attainment, ownership of key assets, and financial autonomy. Strong majorities of citizens express support for women’s right to equality in hiring, in land ownership, and in political leadership. But sizeable minorities also consider it likely that female candidates for elective office might suffer criticism, harassment, or family problems.
A majority of Ghanaians say the government needs to do more to promote equal rights and opportunities for women.