Kin norms, power and violence against married women in Ghana

Pearl Sedziafa, Memorial University
Eric Tenkorang, Memorial University

The socialization of men and women in Ghana is understood as conferring either patrilineal or matrilineal rights, privileges and responsibilities. Yet, previous studies that explored the causes of domestic and marital violence in sub-Saharan Africa and Ghana paid less attention to kin group affiliation and how the power dynamics within such groups affect marital violence. Using the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey and applying OLS techniques, this study examined the causes of physical, sexual and emotional violence among matrilineal and patrilineal kin groups. Socio-economic variables that capture feminist and power theories were not significantly related to physical sexual and emotional violence. Variables that tap both cultural and life course epistemologies of domestic violence were significantly related to physical, sexual and emotional violence among married women in patrilineal kin groups. Policy makers must pay attention to kin group affiliation in designing policies aimed at reducing marital violence among Ghanaian women.

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Presented in Session 92: Reproductive health and rights issues