According to the mid-term review (MTR) performed summer of 2014, Pathways Ghana’s activities have resulted in a variety of changes and improvements in women’s empowerment. Gender interventions in Ghana include gender sensitization trainings, household and community-level dialogues, and the use of male gender champions, who set an example for and encourage other men to support women. The key changes that women have experienced include their increased household and community influence and increased support from men.
One of the most significant changes is women’s increased participation in household and community decision-making processes. Women now have more influence in decisions regarding both income-generating activities and household expenditures. The 2012 baseline study indicated that 55% of female respondents did not have a say in household decisions regarding income and expenditures. At the time of the Pathways mid-term review in 2014, this number had dropped to 8%. Nearly 70% of respondents in the MTR stated that they are now consulted in all decisions related to household expenses. Many women stated that their improved financial status has increased their husbands’ willingness to discuss important decisions with them.
In addition to increased influence, women also report that men are supporting them more with household chores, including fetching water, bathing children, and preparing meals. Household quarrels between spouses have also declined as a result of Pathways meetings and dialogues, which have helped men and women learn to communicate better.
Households also commented that women prepare more nutritious meals for their families, which they have learned through cooking demonstrations offered by Pathways. Women’s increased income that results from their VSLA activity has helped them more easily pay their children’s school fees and family health insurance, resulting in a higher quality of life for Pathways impact members and their families.
Pathways in Ghana engages with traditional leaders and landlords, and this work has helped increase women’s access to productive lands. In 2013, women were able to access an average of 0.5 acres of land, which increased to 1 acre in 2014. In addition, women have increased knowledge of improved agronomic practices, largely due to the engagement of community-based extension agents, who are mostly women.
Pathways communities in Ghana still face obstacles to fully achieving women’s empowerment, which often result from community norms and policies that have yet to change. However, the mid-term review reveals that great strides are being taken towards achieving equity, and that Pathways is on the right track to meeting this goal.