Get the CIFOR publications update

CIFOR publishes over 400 publications every year on forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy, agroforestry and much more in multiple languages.

Why Would She? Polygyny and Women’s Welfare in Ghana

Why Would She? Polygyny and Women’s Welfare in Ghana

This study examines whether polygynous marriages are beneficial to women in Ghana. While some scholars claim that women benefit from such marriages in terms of higher consumption or leisure time, others believe that such relationships can be oppressive for women, as compared to monogamous relationships. Using household data from the 2005/6 Ghanaian Living Standards Measurement Survey V and the 2008 Ghanaian Demographic Health Survey, this study finds little evidence to support the view that women experience economic benefits from these unions. Polygynous women in Ghana tend to be more accepting of and experience more domestic violence, and they have less decision-making power within the household than women in monogamous marriages. Thus, there seems to be more evidence to support the view of polygyny as an oppressive institution rather than the outcome of a woman’s rational choice.

Authors: Ickowitz, A.; Mohanty, L.

Topic: households, gender relations, marriage, polygyny, domestic violence

Geographic: Ghana

Publication Year: 2015

ISSN: 1354-5701

Source: Feminist Economics 21(2): 77-104

DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2014.992931

Altmetric score:

Download Option:

Export Citation

Related viewing


CIFOR website usability survey

We're conducting research on our website and we'd love to hear from you about your experience on This will help us make improvements and prioritize new features. The survey should only take 5 minutes, and your responses are completely anonymous.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email us:

We really appreciate your input!

Start survey
I don’t want to participate
Remind me later