While the Asantehene and the Asantehemmaa are well known figures in Ghana, less familiar are the many queen mothers who function in parallel roles to chiefs in every Asante town and paramountcy. Ignored by the British and generally bypassed by modern Ghanaian leaders, queen mothers have nevertheless continued to serve their constituencies faithfully. More recently, however, globalization has discovered them, and external sources are beginning to seek them out for local projects. Yet, queen mothers continue to face serious obstacles as a precolonial female authority in a postcolonial society.
This paper examines the evolving roles of Dagaare women in Dagaare oral poetry, and with that transformation, their changing status in the society. The issues of women as they are reflected in the oral poems they sing are also examined. Resources from fifty women, including discussions with people knowledgeable in Dagaare oral arts were gathered and analysed to understand how the situation of the Dagaare woman is changing. Particular women performers were also picked and their poems recorded for analysis, and they were also interviewed on their views on their changing roles and position in the society.
<br>The status of women is examined vis-à-vis their prestige, economic and political power in the society and is seen to be inexorably changing as their economic base improves and they gain more and more recognition in their society.
<br>Institutional factors that promote change such as migration, activities of NGOs and the Churches are also examined. One of the recommendations made is that much more needs to be done to give women an even higher status in the society.
This article has shown that even though women in a cash crop growing area on the Ghana side of the Ghana-Togo border played virtually no role in the transfer of land to migrant farmers, it was they who, either as wives or heads of household, faced the responsibility of dealing with household food insecurity that had resulted from the transfer of the land. Thus, the paper suggests that, in collaboration with its development partners, the Government of Ghana should assist these women to develop alternative income-earning enterprises that de-emphasize land as the only means of earning livelihood in the area.
Local gender ideologies vary considerably in fishing communities along the coast of Ghana. This article compares the extent to which women convert capital from the female market sphere into ownership of fishing equipment in the male fishing sphere in three ethnically diverse communities - Moree (Fante), Kpone (Ga-Adangbe) and Dzelukope (Anlo-Ewe). Kinship ideologies, post-marital residence patterns, and gender division of labour and roles in the local fishing economies shape women's place-specific manoeuvring spaces. It is argued that a loyal and trustworthy male cooperation partner is a prerequisite for the success of female entrepreneurs in a male arena like the fisheries.
Women play key roles in the care and management of the home and in environment affecting heath risks and family well being. Results from a qualitative survey in Accra indicate that environment problems in and around the homes are a particularly serious health burden for women and children, escalated by poverty. These issues warrant more attention in environmental debates and programs. Improvements need to come with better economic conditions and improved services, but also through changes in gender relations to the advantage of women. Such changes will improve power relations.
Infant feeding practices have been identified as one of the major determinants of children's nutritional status and account to a large extent for the high rates of malnutrition among children in Ghana. The relationship between breastfeeding and especially exclusive breastfeeding and child health and birth spacing in developing countries is well documented. However for the age group 0-6 months, although breastfeeding is widely practiced in Ghana, studies indicate that only 8% of children under 4 months are exclusively breastfed and 45% are given some form of supplementary feeding by age three months. Despite efforts of Health Workers to increase the percentage of exclusively breastfed babies, not much success has been achieved, because feeding practices are often difficult to change as they are directly related to varied economic, socio-cultural and religious factors in the community and to various dynamics prevailing at the household level.
<br>Employing mainly qualitative research methods, this paper examines infant feeding practices of women with children 0-6 months in two areas in the Bawku East District of Ghana and analyses the role of socio-cultural factors, household and gender dynamics as determinants of infant feeding practices and child nutrition. It argues that the existence of beliefs and value systems especially with regard to the cultural administration of water is central to conflicts with exclusive breastfeeding recommendations of WHO and UNICEF.
<br>The paper recommends that policies that seek to improve infant and child health status in developing countries, must recognise and understand the broad complex of dynamics operating at the household and community level affecting feeding behaviour. It also requires that women's knowledge and perceptions on infant feeding are recognised and valued to ensure sustained changes.