Women's Roles and Demographic Change in Sub-Saharan Africa
Christine Oppong and René Wéry Introduction
2-87108-036-4 © Copyright 1994 IUSSP
The Committee on
Gender and Population of the IUSSP, in collabouration with the Institut
Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération,
ORSTOM, held a Seminar on Women and Demographic Change in Sub-Saharan
Africa in Dakar, Senegal in March 1993.
A major objective
of the seminar was to explore possible linkages between several aspects
of women's status as workers, wives, mothers and citizens and a variety
of demographic and environmental phenomena.
In 1988 the
Committee had already held a global Conference on Women's Position and
Demographic Change in the Course of Development in Asker near Oslo,
Norway. This Conference was jointly sponsored with the Norwegian
Demographic Society, the Nordic Demographic Society and the
International Commission for Historical Demography.
source of information, insights and debate on related themes and
evidence was the regional conference of the IUSSP held in Dakar,
Senegal, in 1988 and hosted jointly with the newly formed union of
African Population Studies.
This monograph on
the subject of Women's Roles and Demographic Change in Sub-Saharan
Africa: Research and Policy Issues, is based on a number of the
scientific papers presented and discussed at those meetings, as well as
on some of the relevant papers presented at the IUSSP General Conference
held in Montreal in 1993.
International union for the Scientific Study of Population is the
foremost international professional association dedicated to the
scientific study of population. Its four basic objectives are:
of research into demographic issues and problems worldwide;
2. stimulation of
interest in population questions among governments, international and
national organizations, the scientific community and the general PUBLIC;
3. promotion of
exchange between population specialists and those in related
dissemination of scientific knowledge on population.
Committees and Working Groups of IUSSP are the principal means for
implementation of the scientific programme of IUSSP. Generally they have
a life of about four years. Scientific Committees are active in well
defined fields of research whereas the Working Groups are often
established in newer areas in which the Council of IUSSP thinks further
development and definition of scientific issues are required. An
overview of the current Committees and Working Groups in Box 1 shows
that many of the activities of the Committees and Working Groups are of
direct interest to the Cairo International Conference on Population and
Scientific Committees and Working Groups of IUSSP
on Comparative Analysis of Fertility
Committee on Adult Mortality
Committee on Historical Demography
Committee on Population and Health (including Family Planning)
Committee on Gender and Population
Committee on Anthropological Demography
Committee on Population and Environment
Committee on Economic Demography
Committee on South-North Migration
Group on Demographic Software and Micro-Computing
Working Group on AIDS
Topics of Policy and research papers
Contributions of the IUSSP to the International Conference on
Population and Development
Population and Deforestation in the Humid Tropics
and Mortality Trends among Elderly Populations
a more Effective Policy Response to AIDS
Roles and Demographic Change in Sub-Saharan Africa
Evaluation of the Impact of Health Interventions
Currently IUSSP is
publishing six policy monographs (Policy & Research Papers
series - see Box 2 for complete list of topics) based on some of the
seminars organized by the Scientific Committees and Work Groups. The
policy monographs are primarily directed at policy makers at all levels.
They should also be of interest to the educated PUBLIC and to the
academic community. The policy monographs give, in simple non-technical
language, a synthetic overview of the main policy implications
identified by the Committees and Work Groups. The contents are therefore
strictly based on the papers and discussions of these seminars. For ease
of reading no specific references to individual papers are given in the
text. However the programme of the seminar and a listing of all the
papers presented are given at the end of the monograph.
Problems and Hypotheses
For two decades or
more there has been growing interest in exploring and documenting
potential links between several demographic phenomena and various
aspects of the changing position and associated status attributes
(economic, social and political) of women's roles as workers (inside and
outside the home), wives, mothers, kin, citizens and others.
scientific evidence of various kinds has been accumulating and subjected
to analysis. The tasks involved, however, are complex and require an
informed concern for the diverse and changing socio-cultural and
political/economic institutional contexts, within which the positions,
roles and associated statuses are embedded.
frequently used indicators of women's position are women's control over
various resources compared to that of men; the degree of their autonomy
from men; or other aspects of their privileges or oppression intrinsic
in social institutions. Such an approach takes a gendered perspective,
in which the measure of comparison is men in women's own society.
mode of analysis is to compare the resources available to women, such as
education and occupations. These are frequently compared across
cultures, to contrast the situations of women in different countries,
socio-economic classes and ethnic groups.
relationships between women's position and the fertility and mortality
transitions have been posited. Among them are the following:
1. Change in
women's position directly contributes to the mortality or fertility
transition. In this model an increase in women's autonomy, independence
or control of resources is perceived as leading to a lowering in
fertility and mortality. This seems to be the model of change which
people have in mind when they argue that improving the 'status' of women
will lead to a lowering of fertility or infant and child mortality
2. Change in
women's position is an intervening variable which explains why other
variables lead to the mortality or fertility transition. This is the
type of model in which, for instance, education for girls leads to
greater female autonomy, which may in turn lead to lower fertility or
mortality. If this happens, a policy to improve girls' access to
schooling may simultaneously affect the desired demographic change and
improve the position of women.
pre-existing nature of women's position conditions the impact of other
factors on the mortality or fertility transition. This model suggests
that it is not necessary for the situation of women to change in order
for their position to play an important role in the decline of fertility
4. Change in
women's position is determined by the mortality or fertility transition,
not vice versa.
In fact an
examination of the available empirical literature demonstrates a
conceptual dissarray within the field and serious problems of research
design and operationalization. A primary problem is often the vague
nature of attempts to describe women's position and at the same time a
multitude of terms used to describe and define it. A second problem is
that of measurement. Accordingly, the unsolved problems of definition,
measurement and comparison of female 'status' attributes still remain
critical for most scholars in this field.
This means that
there are major tasks still to be undertaken by scholars from several
population disciplines. These tasks include improved definition of
individual role attributes and development of suitable multiple indices
of aspects of the associated statuses, which can be used for purposes of
measurement and comparison.
should be able to be manipulated in quantitative, as well as
qualitative, comparative studies in the region. They will need to
capture changes taking place in status attributes of several changing
roles: maternal, occupational, conjugal, kin, domestic, community, among
concern is how to integrate demographic analysis into studies that are
concerned with the study and explanation of the changing social
institutions in which gender roles are embedded. These include systems
of production and reproduction.
measuring demographic changes, given the data existing in the region,
normally means comparing two survey results at relatively aggregate
levels. There are few cases in which such comparable data sets are
available at two or more points in time. Furthermore, the aggregate data
may hide substantial behavioural changes which may have occurred in a
subgroup of the population. Linking such changes to various status
attributes may mean practically inventing the levels of aggregation at
which the relationship should be studied.
Women's Roles and Statuses: Common Proxies and Problems
the most common proxies used to represent female roles and
associated status attributes in cross-national, comparative
survey analyses have included number of years of school
attendance and type of employment. This is partially the
consequence of these facts being most readily available in
socioeconomic surveys, censuses and other sources.
the information on economic activity in such surveys is itself
often flawed, calling into question the validity of such
endeavours. Moreover there is only fragmentary evidence relating
economic activity to control or allocation of scarce and needed
problems are the levels of aggregation at which analysis is
performed and the types of units which are used for comparative
purposes and the cross-sectional nature of most studies.
In view of the
many conceptual and methodological problems, it has proved very
difficult to test or support hypotheses focusing on possible changes
taking place over time. For example, the status of women as measured by
educational level and employment situation in a demographic survey is
defined at the individual level and implies that the range of 'statuses'
found in the sample surveys is as varied as the values of the proxy
variables. Moreover relatively few girls or women have enjoyed secondary
level or higher education. But it is often only at such levels of
educational experience or achievement that schooling appears to have a
noticeable effect on such outcomes as numbers of children born
(negative) or their rates of survival (positive).
What is more,
women in a given society, whether educated or employed, may have a
relatively low legal status vis-à-vis husbands, brothers and others.
They may in fact, despite their education and income-earning, remain
perpetual legal minors, with limited ability to make major life
decisions or to enter contracts and without direct access to major forms
of sustenance, such as land, labour and capital.
women in Africa have salaried or waged employment outside the familial
context. The rest live predominantly in familial contexts of
reproduction and production. These familial contexts are dominated by a
variety of traditional institutions, including marriage institutions.
The changing and frequently disputed norms, beliefs and practices within
these institutions do much to shape their lives.
of Data Bases
does not intend to recount all technical, conceptual and methodological
problems, and efforts to solve them, in studies of women's roles and
demographic issues in Africa. Nor is it the goal to enumerate or
synthesize all the detailed findings in the many empirical studies
carried out in the past decade.
These are studies
which have used a range of frames of reference. They have been
undertaken by demographers, economists, anthropologists, geographers,
psychologists, statisticians, political scientists and others.
The critical task
is to identify and highlight evidence which points to some of the major
aspects of women's changing roles and status attributes - which appear
to be critically pertinent to the documentation and explanation of
demographic change and lack of change - and to the design and
development of national population policies and programmes.
There have been a
number of attempts to answer important policy-related questions over the
past two decades - especially questions about the reproductive outcomes
of relationships between women and men. They have served as spurs to a
variety of major demographic enquiries. Several major surveys and a
multitude of different types of small studies have attempted to explore
some of the factors affecting timing and quantity of births and the
health and survival prospects of mothers and their offspring. These
major multi-country surveys include the World Fertility Survey (WFS),
the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and the Contraceptive
Prevalence Surveys (CPS). Other studies have collated and examined the
available evidence and devised estimates on rates of maternal mortality
and morbidity [see the work of the World Health Organization (WHO)]. The
International labour Office (ILO) has assembled evidence on women's
data on productive and reproductive activities have been demonstrated to
be flawed, and in many cases fragmentary. This has often resulted in
dependence upon educated guesses. Moreover, data collection has often
been sex-biased, in that records of reproductive activities have focused
on females, while the economic activities of men have been generally
better recorded than those of women. Despite these shortcomings,
research efforts have led to several important developments. The latter
have included the design of new measurement tools (for example, to
measure maternal mortality - the sisterhood method); the construction of
several series of survey data bases and more or less successful attempts
to penetrate some of the past disciplinary barriers.
As a result of
these endeavours, a wide-ranging multidisciplinary field of gender
issues in relation to population and development policies has developed.
Furthermore, the exclusive emphasis on women has been replaced by a more
balanced approach, one which views females and males simultaneously,
recognizing that the divisions of tasks, resources, responsibilities and
rights between them is culturally embedded and varies from social group
to social group. This development of a rich research field over the past
two decades has led to a marked increase in policy-related facts and
A major and
unfortunate gap is the widespread lack of nationally representative or
comparative demographic data sets, which can successfully link
productive and reproductive activities of women or men and at the same
time give some indication of what is happening to the crucial familial
roles of spouses, parents and kin.
frameworks generally adopted for much data collection and analysis are
recognized as having serious shortcomings. Meanwhile most of the
demographic surveys, which get information on timing of births and child
survival rates, have normally omitted information on the material and
familial contexts of production and provision, within which these
demographic events are occurring. In addition there is as yet inadequate
documentation or understanding of the processes whereby fertility and
mortality are impacted by labour migration.
Despite the rapid
growth of this research field, many aspects of legal, political and
economic status, which are vital to the demographic outcomes, lack
comparative cross-cultural documentation. They remain only partially
explored. These include, for example, legal rights concerning property
and persons and the relative safety and protection from assault and
violence afforded by community institutions and sanctions.
community services, such as the relative costs of access to health and
family planning facilities, have been better studied, especially as a
consequence of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). In addition,
the growing recognition of the escalating threats posed by the AIDS
pandemic has expanded the study of other aspects of women's and men's
status attributes and behaviour. These include sexual relations and
reproductive health, and the associated behaviour and knowledge, which
intimately impinge upon reproductive health, fertility and survival.
Thus a growing number of studies are attempting to document behavioural
correlates of sexually transmitted disease and death, including
Box 4: The
Growing Emphasis on Socio-cultural Perspectives
has been one of the institutions in the vanguard of attempts to
make demographic enquiries more culturally informed and aware,
rooted in ethnographic facts and socioculturally sensitive.
emphasis on socio-cultural issues in the deliberations and
Publicationsof the Committee on Gender Issues attests to the
recognition that women's roles and gender issues are essentially
culturally-embedded and -defined phenomena which need to be
examined in a cross-culturally comparative and sensitive manner.
addition, the IUSSP has established a Committee on
Anthropological Demography, and there is greater emphasis on
anthropological approaches, methods and perspectives in
demography and population economics. This is reflected by the
growing numbers of anthropologists who have become members of
the union, a development which occurred over the past two
In sum, despite
considerable progress, recent overviews have concluded that much remains
to be done if policy research is to fulfil its mission and respond to an
array of urgent needs. These urgent needs include:
1. providing the
guidance needed by national planners and policy-makers as they develop
population, development and health policies and programmes in the
context of stringent budgets, particularly through the demonstration of
the close interrelationships between women's roles, 'gender issues' and
the achievement of population and development policy goals;
assistance to non-governmental organizations as they attempt to mobilize
energy and resources to design and replicate successful action
initiatives which will empower women as well as men, to promote lower
levels of morbidity and mortality and to harmonize reproductive and
productive goals, responsibilities and activities at the individual,
household and national level.
3. making relevant
information on women's roles, gender issues and population available to
the donor community. Without their timely assistance, many governmental
and non-governmental programmes would scarcely be conceived or realized.
Facts: Reproduction and Survival
demographic data for sub-Saharan Africa reveal many grim realities.
These include unacceptably high levels of poverty, disease and death, in
continuing contexts of high fertility, rapid population growth and high
rates of child dependency. Various sets of evidence show that living and
working conditions are continuing to deteriorate as a result of economic
recession, fiscal austerity and political mismanagement. For example,
per capita incomes are below levels of 25 years ago, and according to
current projections poverty, already widespread, is likely to increase
by 50 per cent between 1985 and the year 2000. Impoverishment is already
As a consequence
sub-Saharan African countries rank low on most indicators of
socio-economic well-being, including the uNDP Human Development Index
(HDI). Indeed many African countries, reflecting the low level of social
development, rank comparatively lower on the HDI than in terms of income
per capita. Two-thirds of the countries where there has been least
progress in the HDI (even deterioration) in the last two decades, are
One of the most
striking features in Africa over the period 1970 to 1990, in comparison
with other developing regions, has been the stability of the high
fertility pattern. Estimates of regional fertility trends hide some
variations, including a rise in the fertility level in a few countries
(including Gabon, Guinea and Mali) and a notable decrease in several
countries (including Botswana, Cape Verde and Zimbabwe and also to a
lesser extent Kenya, Nigeria and possibly Ghana). However the region
lags far behind other regions in terms of the spectacular changes in
reproductive behaviour that have taken place in many of the developing
countries in the past twenty years.
fertility, where they exist, are associated with increases in use of
family planning. In each country fertility varies among women in
different regions and with different levels of education. Often the
fertility of the elementary-educated is highest, indicating the
relaxation of customary constraints and traditional sanctions
controlling sexual activity. At the same time those who leave primary
school have often not gained sufficient autonomy or resources to access
effective, modern forms of health care and contraception.
In addition the
fall in infant mortality over the same period has been lower than in a
number of Asian and Latin American countries. The gains in infant
mortality levels have been mainly the result of PUBLIC health
initiatives, including vaccination and oral rehydration. The gains in
life expectancy achieved during the same period can largely be
attributed to these gains in infant survival.
however, African countries in which it appears that infant mortality has
decreased very little or may even have increased. Among the reasons
contributing to high levels of infant mortality are high proportions of
births in risk-prone categories (too young, too close, too many, too
late). This bleak performance of course reflects factors such as urban
crises, collapsing PUBLIC expenditures and diminishing social services -
with their negative effect on PUBLIC health and education; civil wars
and ecological disasters. The latter, together with impoverishment, have
led to massive migrations and growing numbers of economic and political
risk is a subject for which synthesis of partial information and strong
advocacy are leading to development of new primary health care
approaches for delivery of services. Following the region-wide attempts
to develop Safe Motherhood Initiatives, there has been an upsurge of
practical efforts to improve the design and delivery of primary health
abortion are few, with the result that knowledge of the extent, causes
and correlates and sequelae of induced abortion is poor. Evidence of its
widespread occurrence in medically unsafe conditions and far-reaching
negative health consequences is accumulating, as studies such as the
multiple national studies supported by the Human Reproduction programme
of WHO, as part of the work of the Task Force on Social Science Research
on Reproductive Health show.
High rates of
maternal deaths, pregnancy wastage and infant and child mortality are
recognized as being associated with risky births. Risky births include
those that are too closely spaced (less than two years apart, when the
mother is not fully recovered from the previous pregnancy and the infant
already born is not yet sufficiently mature) and those that occur when
the mother is too young for motherhood or too old. In addition births
are at risk when the mother has many children and is tired and
underweight from overwork, energy depletion and malnourishment.
systematically studied aspect of women's roles in the region is numbers
of children, patterns of childbearing and adoption of traditional and
modern means which prevent, space and stop pregnancies. Teenage
childbirth, if not marriage, is widespread with rates higher than in
other regions of the world. There is serious erosion of traditional
birth spacing mechanisms: exclusive breastfeeding and sexual abstinence.
Maternal Mortality: A Regional Catastrophe
estimated that the maternal mortality rate for subSaharan Africa
is over 600 deaths per 100,000 live births, - by far the highest
for any world region. The figures vary from an estimated 1100
per 100,000 in Somalia to 52 per 100,000 in Mauritius.
for the subregions are:
Northern Africa 500
Western Africa 700
Eastern Africa 660
Central Africa 690
Southern Africa 570
maternal mortality is compounded by the high total fertility
rates, with an average of more than 6 live births per woman. In
rural areas it is quite common for women to have eight live
births and to have been pregnant several more times. If at each
pregnancy such a woman has a 1 in 140 chance of dying
(calculated for a maternal mortality rate of 700 per 100,000),
she has a lifetime risk of pregnancy related mortality of at
least 1 in 15.
pattern of adolescent childbearing has serious social, economic and
demographic effects. It has serious implications for the inequalities
suffered by girls and women in educational and vocational training
systems and in employment. In addition, it profoundly affects levels of
social and economic development in the region as a whole. It is
partially a function of parents' poverty. Also, it partially results
from the breakdown of traditional sanctions preventing sexual relations.
This breakdown has seriously increased the proportion of births which
are deemed 'at risk', and affects children's survival and their
It is increasingly
realized that postponement of the first birth and adequate birth spacing
are necessary for the protection and promotion of the reproductive
health of adolescent girls and women. Furthermore, due to the fact that
traditional mechanisms of birth spacing have eroded, modern methods are
required to take their place.
As a consequence
of women's changing roles as wives, mothers and workers, there has also
been in many countries a rapid erosion of the traditional pattern of
long-term, exclusive breastfeeding of infants, with widespread negative
impacts on child survival and development. In developed countries,
breastfeeding tends to be positively associated with education. Women's
education normally reduces breastfeeding behaviour in developing
countries. It also reduces post-partum sexual abstinence; this, of
course, is also true for developed countries. However, these effects are
offset by increased age at marriage and contraceptive use. The effects
of education are mediated by socio-cultural settings and therefore will
be different from one society to another. A further issue is the way in
which maternal education beyond primary level affects healthseeking
behaviour and, consequently, child health.
demographic data, though, do not demonstrate the effects of separation
of home and work or mothers' impoverishment, malnutrition and
back-breaking workloads (partly caused by male absence and dislocation
of economies) on their ability to breastfeed and promote child survival
Economic Activities and Resources
According to ILO
estimates only one in ten or so of African adults is in formal sector
wage or salaried employment. In addition women are unequally represented
in the modern setting of the economy, where they tend to have mainly
low-status occupations or low-paid jobs.
Most of the women
registered as economically active are found either in agriculture or in
low productivity, home-based production and service activities. However,
the official documentation of these traditional economic activities is
especially poor for women. This has significant repercussions for
demo-economic analysis, economic planning and population and development
policy-making, all of which try to take women's economic activities into
Lack of critical
analysis of comparative data on productive and reproductive activities,
including homebased and seasonal farm work, makes it difficult, if not
impossible, to demonstrate associations between differences and changes
in women's economic activities and resources associated with their
occupational, kin, conjugal and domestic roles on the one hand and
various demographic and health-related phenomena on the other.
small-scale studies show that there may be almost as many reasons to
expect women's economic activity to have adverse impacts on child
survival and health, as there are reasons for expecting favourable
impacts. At the same time a variety of studies have highlighted the
significance of delegation and sharing of reproductive and productive
tasks between different generations of women, grandmothers, mothers and
daughters within domestic groups. Analysis has shown the importance of
substitutes for some of these tasks. If patterns of delegation and
sharing of infant and child care reduce potential occupational/maternal
role conflicts for mothers, then employment-induced constraints to
childbearing and rearing are likely to be minimized. A case in point are
the teenage mothers who let their infants be taken care of by their
Invisibility and Ignorance Regarding Women's Work
development in the recent past with regard to information on
women's 'work' has been the realization that women's economic
activities have remained partially or wholly 'invisible' to the
international development specialists and national planners and
policy-makers in the region.
This is so
despite previous decades of evidence to the contrary from
ethnographic accounts and several important regional and
comparative works, as well as the more recent censal efforts.
One of the
analytical problems related to data collection at the household
level is that women's income-earning activities from
cottage-based industries may merge closely into their 'domestic
activities'. They may simply be thought of as extensions of
their responsibilities and activities as daughters, sisters,
mothers and wives. Even their own family members do not perceive
them as doing more than 'housework'. Similarly, women farmers'
food production may be perceived as simply an extension of their
maternal responsibilities for feeding the children and
consequently be discounted in economic analysis.
traditional constraints associated with their familial roles,
including control by husbands and high levels of child
dependency, may affect women's ability to improve the
productivity, profitability and investment levels of their
activity and control of resources are generally treated as potentially
critical levers for engineering demographic change. A variety of small
scale studies, however, show that there are many intervening factors
affecting female control of resources and power to make decisions. These
include decisions about food allocation and health-seeking behaviour.
Moreover, the demographic impacts of these differences are shown to vary
in contrasting ethnic groups.
indicate that more needs to be known in different cultural contexts
about the precise linkages between women's capacity to produce and
control resources and various demographic outcomes. This kind of
knowledge is critical for understanding barriers - including husbands'
lack of support, prejudice and dominance - affecting access of women and
children to health care and other community facilities.
have often been the cause of PUBLIC service retrenchment exercises,
jeopardizing the ability of many salary earners to maintain their
children in good health. Consequently some women who could previously
afford not to work outside the home because their husband's income was
sufficient, now have to find jobs. More generally and dramatically,
growing numbers of women are being forced into the urban,
low-productivity, informal sector of production and provision of
services. Women's opportunities for employment may be affected by sexual
biases in recruitment. A powerful pressure to take on any work, however
dangerous or demanding, is the need to take care of children. The
segments of the informal sector where women typically find an occupation
often have little growth potential.
In contrast, in
rural areas outmigration of males frequently adds burdens. Such trends
may increase the value of child labour, thus serving as an even more
potent pressure for high fertility. At the same time excessive strains
on pregnant and nursing mothers may be raising levels of maternal and
infant morbidity and mortality.
unemployment in urban contexts are associated with increase in the
commoditization of sexual services, mainly engaged in by
poverty-stricken, migrant women with no other sources of support
(husband, kin, occupation) in order to maintain children. The manifold
implications of this development for women and their families -
including impacts on reproductive health, morbidity and mortality - are
beginning to be documented.
movements of peoples are being triggered by a variety of situations.
These include economic impoverishment; environmental degradation and
alterations in the natural resource base; climatic change (including
droughts) and population pressure. As a result people are being
compelled to migrate in search of often elusive and mainly insecure and
poorly paid employment. Migratory flows have increased considerably
during the 1980s and 90s, as a consequence of high natural population
growth and resulting environmental and economic pressures. International
movement has often been facilitated by lack of strict border controls.
female and male, play an important part in the economic development of
most countries in the region. International migrants are new estimated
to comprise eight percent of the sub-Saharan Africa population as a
whole. In some countries the proportion is far higher.
of economic growth and income levels over a period of time have resulted
in changing in- and outflows of labour migrants, male and female, from
and to a particular region. In many cases the social and economic status
of migrant workers is especially vulnerable and subject to rude shocks
and even aggressive repatriation. Female migration, on the whole a more
recent phenomenon, has so far been less well studied than male. Its
contexts, implications and impacts clearly vary widely.
The impacts of
male migrants' remittances are extremely important to family levels of
living in some labour-exporting countries and districts, but
consequences of male absence for sexual division of agriculture labour
and responsibilities in the family and on child development are like to
Evidence of the
extent to which women are alone in areas of out-migration, responsible
for their own and others' children in their capacities as mother and
grandmother, has been accumulating for quite some time. The increase in
female-headed households in agricultural areas has significant impacts
upon food production and security.
Indeed, the labour
migration in its various guises is leading to many different kinds of
changes in female and male roles and associated status attributes, with
important implications for demographic outcomes. A variety of small
studies shows the diversity of such impacts and potential linkages.
There is, however, insufficient systematic comparative evidence on many
of these issues and of the effect of migration on fertility and
pathways of influence of labour migration on gender roles are effects
upon the age and sex composition of populations and the erosion of kin
and community sanctions on familial and sexual behaviour. Both of these
types of changes bring people together in new contexts in which both
innovation and deviance are possible and observed.
For example, a
recent IUSSP collection of studies on sexual behaviour and networking
has suggested that increased human mobility and urbanization probably
increases the number of sexual partnerships over a lifetime. Also
possibly implicated in such changes in this region of the world and
others is the rapid and sustained communication of new ideas of what
constitutes acceptable patterns of sexual behaviour. At the same time
changing socio-economic circumstances, in particular rising levels of
impoverishment, insecurity and isolation as well as rising levels of
education, add new dimensions. Such considerations are obviously very
pertinent to the design of policies and development of programmes to
curb the sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.
In summary, the
impact of migration on gender roles, with potential demographic
consequences are the following:
- Relaxation of
customary constraints and sanctions which mould sexual behaviour and
a) protect the
young and vulnerable
b) link sex to
abstinence during nursing.
- Separation of
kin, jeopardizing their solidarity and capacity for mutual support and
- Separation of
parents and children, leaving the latter often relatively deprived of
care and attention.
- Separation of
spouses, endangering conjugal fidelity and consequently reproductive
prevalence of sexually transmitted disease and death.
- Burdening of
women with unmanageable loads of productive and reproductive
responsibilities, threatening food security and survival.
There is a prize
for those left behind if lucky: sharing in migrants' remittances. To
what extent, however, is this accompanied by a loosening of conjugal,
parental and filial bonds and erosion of remittance flows? To what
extent do the remittances make up for the losses sustained: losses in
parental care and conjugal cooperation, which often jeopardize the
processes of production and reproduction?
Inequality and Insecurity
and insecurities suffered on a wide scale by women in labour markets and
marriage and within their kin groups have profound impacts on their
socio-economic status and the burdens of responsibility which they are
compelled to shoulder for rearing the next generations. Such
inequalities and insecurities have profound consequences for women's
abilities to increase the spacing of their births, to provide adequately
for the daily and long term needs of their children or to negotiate
safer sexual practices with their partners.
A variety of
studies have called attention to the limited occupational opportunities,
the low status of women, discrimination and occupational hazards. They
have accordingly drawn attention to:
- the levels of
unemployment faced by job seekers in the formal sector;
- the barriers and
constraints faced by women in the informal sectors of economic activity
- the insecurity,
and precarious nature, of much employment.
- the levels of
exploitation and harassment endured.
The evidence shows
that modern sector employment opportunities are already minimal and will
diminish in the future and, as a consequence, 'informal sector' work -
that is, microentrepreneurial activities and self-employment (street or
homebased) will perforce expand because of the need for survival.
Sexual Vulnerability: Exploitation, Harassment and Violence
harassment as a workplace hazard endured by many women with
potentially serious consequences for reproductive health and
demographic outcomes, has so far received comparatively little
attention from researchers, policy-makers, lawyers or
politicians. But evidence on this topic is beginning to
accumulate, as is data on exploitation and violence against
women in war zones, in refugee camps and households, and the
potential demographic effects of these situations in terms of
morbidity and mortality.
number of countries, evidence related to the escalating AIDS
epidemic is prompting women's organizations and others to take
up more vociferously the issue of sexual protection of
show the greater vulnerability of females and underline the
potential extent of this problem, particularly within the
contexts of poverty, unemployment and job insecurity. Growing
recognition, although slow, of the medical and demographic
concerns involved - sexually transmitted morbidity and
mortality - means that this agenda will have to be promoted more
traditional family farming and marriage institutions have been
diminishing as sources of security and support for girls and
women, the commoditization of sexual services has been
proliferating as an individual source of income and survival for
females. In some cities there are thousands of women earning a
living by this method and they are often migrants. Sex for money
in the context of economic hardship and the breakdown of
customary sources of security is becoming an observed, if not
accepted, way of survival for increasing numbers of women and
their dependent children.
structural adjustment programmes and continuing economic crises are
pushing women further into informal, marginal, low-status and low-pay
jobs. These include commercial sale of domestic and sexual services.
Increasing numbers of women are compelled by poverty to have more than
one economic activity or more than one sexual partner.
flexibility, resourcefulness, endurance and survival are frequently
being tested to their limits, as they try to support their dependent
children in increasingly difficult circumstances. Evidence is mounting
that many women workers are the sole providers for their dependents,
young and old. Evidence of energy depletion, time pressures and fatigue
point to the need for alternative sources of renewable energy other than
that derived from their children.
A number of micro
studies have documented some of the effects of the economic crisis on
women's economic activity. On one hand, the income they obtain from
their activities may give them some independence. This may facilitate
control of their sexual relations or serve to enhance their marital
status. On the other hand, women may be forced to take up an economic
activity because of the drop in household incomes and consequent impact
on the health of children. Moreover, the majority of employed women are
managed by men.
Child-Care and Child labour
By now much has
been written by population scholars about traditional population
balancing mechanisms in the region. These affect fertility and
mortality, through constraints, checks and taboos. These in turn have
impacts on maternal roles and reproduction. In the early eighties the
full importance of traditional child spacing - both breastfeeding
patterns and sexual abstinence - became apparent in the demographic
literature of the region. Detailed studies of these phenomena show how
critically important they are both for child survival and development
and for the ability of women to balance reproductive and productive
Women's Work, BreastFeeding and Child Survival
in which working women cope with infants' feeding needs go
largely unrecognized and unanswered in terms of workplace design
and supportive policies. The few descriptions of rural
cooperative creches and market-based kindergartens demonstrate
how the problem could be partially solved.
will and structural change are required to ensure that the known
benefits of breastfeeding can be enjoyed by all infants.
action would comprise appropriate legal and institutional
reforms, including ideally, ratification and application of
relevant International labour Standards concerning Maternity
Protection, as well as promotion of those institutional supports
needed in places of work and elsewhere by Workers with Family
national data have demonstrated the cultural differences in the patterns
of change in breastfeeding intensity and duration. There is a serious
gap, however, regarding the information which would help to explain
differences and processes and causes of change and which would help to
identify those mothers and children at risk, in terms of truncated or
eroded breastfeeding and too-early weaning. This is so because of the
already-mentioned lack of data sets on breastfeeding practices and
childbearing, which include data on the effects of women's economic
activities and location on the timing and duration of breastfeeding
attention has been focused in the past on the so-called costs and
benefits of rearing children and the processes whereby children change
from labour assets for their parents into expensive consumers of
education and other services. Meanwhile, growing evidence from the
region has challenged the conclusion that fertility is simply the result
of the economic and social involvement of the biological parents. Not
only are non-parental kin often heavily involved, but much child care is
by siblings scarcely much older, a factor now affecting many older
Child Fostering, Trafficking and Child labour
As many as
20, 30 or more percent of children may be living with kin and
others. Several patterns of arrangements have been identified.
These include co-residence with grandparents, inclusion of
mothers and their children in larger family households and the
transfer of children between kin.
of poorer mothers with larger numbers of children are more
likely to be sent to relatives and non-relatives. Women's
propensity to take in children varies partly according to their
type of economic activity, their labour demands and their
economic standing. Fostered girls often have to do domestic work
and look after children.
evidence from micro studies that attitudes to and practices of
fostering, willingness and opportunities to delegate child care
may be intimately associated with attitudes and practices
relating to family size and family planning.
importance of circulation of children among non-kin as domestic
and other forms of labourers has also surfaced as an important
phenomenon, especially as charges of abuse and trafficking for
illegal purposes have come to the fore in the national press.
Trafficking in child labour between impoverished and betteroff
families serves to support continuation of goals and practices
related to high fertility among both rich and poor.
To ignore the
economic and social involvement of others in child-rearing makes
nonsense of the exclusive discussion of the role of childbearing and
child rearing costs in fertility within the nuclear family. Its neglect
also calls into question the logic of attempts to link women's economic
activities and fertility levels, since sharing and delegation of child
care may diminish any potential conflicts that might be experienced by
women engaged simultaneously in productive and reproductive
responsibilities. At the same time transfers of children to other
families may serve as a form of planning family size.
Contexts of Procreation
The micro level
analysis of the sexual division of labour, resources, power and
decision-making in the domestic domain are of growing concern to
population scholars. A variety of detailed ethnographic demography
illustrates how intergenerational authority patterns within domestic
groups can affect women's access to and control over resources and their
consequent ability to promote child health. It also shows which factors
affect men's decisions regarding paternity - which of their offspring to
PUBLICly accept as their own or to maintain and which to reject. Such
behaviours are among the processes of domestic decision making and
resource allocation, which may vitally affect child development and
enquiries have become more sophisticated and culturally sensitive,
unitary household models as heuristic tools have perforce been adapted
to accommodate recognition of separation, segregation, bargaining,
competition, distancing and conflict between spouses and kin within
domestic groups. In fact such processes are now themselves major topics
for exploration, especially as systems of familial roles and
relationships are observed to be undergoing profound transformations and
Within the complex
nexus of domestic behaviour a critical issue is the extent to which
female and male household members pool or keep separate the resources
they produce and earn, and the proportion they each control and allocate
to the promotion of child survival and development.
Adding to our
knowledge of household dynamics and women's domestic roles are the
studies focusing on single women or female-headed households. The
phenomenon is becoming increasingly widespread in this as in other
regions of the world, affecting large proportions of women - old and
young - and their dependent children. Adult women in their childbearing
years are assisted in their dual tasks of production and reproduction by
grandmothers and young girls. In some countries the majority of children
are raised without much support from the men who fathered them.
In Africa, as in
other parts of the world, female-headed households are generally the
result of a series of causes beyond the control of women. These include
male labour migration, abandonment, separation and death. These
processes occur in contexts in which traditional family patterns of
female/male cooperation, through inheritance of widows or reintegration
of adult daughters in parental or sibling households, are waning. An
outcome of these changes is that the majority of the poorest households
in a number of countries are female-headed and maintained.
studies of this phenomenon will be required in view of its profound
implications for human development and for the relative share of women
and men in the raising of the young.
Sexual Relationships: transformation and crisis
Marriage in the
region is characterized by the following characteristics: early age of
first marriage for females, which has been rising somewhat of late, at
least among those with more education; the continuing frequency of
polygyny, divorce and remarriage and the escalating phenomenon of
transformations in marriage practices are also occurring. The speed of
changes is reaching crisis proportions in some cases - with continual
calls for legal reforms, court cases and battles and escalating rupture
of unions - as norms, practices, aspirations and realities no longer
Among a few of the
educated and employed minority of women, there is the phenomenon of the
emergence of women living in unstable unions or preferring the situation
'deuxième bureau' to marriage. This has been shown to be correlated, not
only with education but also with rejection of parental and traditional
authority. An observed outcome is an increasing number of 'single' women
in African cities, who may be neither celibate nor childless, but who
certainly lack recognized husbands. The single state, before marriage,
may well turn into a 'definitive' status for some women, which is more
or less difficult to accept in the long run. Others opt for statuses
which enable them to act as though they were married.
proportions of single women not only reflect simply postponement of
first marriage, but deeper changes altering the face of urban Africa. A
critical outcome is increasing numbers of children born without
effective social fathers. Another is the brittle nature of many unions,
their short duration and the sexual mobility of individuals, especially
in urban areas. This behaviour pattern has accordingly profound
implications for child development and reproductive health.
The knowledge that
the PUBLIC health risks of the AIDS epidemic in the region are only
likely to be contained if adequate knowledge is developed regarding the
modes and contexts of its spread and how to change it, is leading to an
increase in studies on sexual behaviour outside, as well as inside,
marriage and on the behaviour of women, as well as men, who have
short-term or multiple sexual partners.
there has been concern to examine the extent to which women can or do
control their own sexual activities and relationships in different
situations and the extent to which they are compelled by patriarchy,
poverty or powerful sexual seduction to engage in risky behaviour.
Evidence has been adduced to support the hypothesis that the greater the
imbalance in sexual freedom between men and women, the more rapid the
progress of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, through male resort to prostitution.
research issues and some implications for population policies and health
comparative data sets now exist on women's roles and on aspects such as
fertility rates, child survival and family planning. We know most about
the quantity and tempo of childbearing and the modes adopted to space
births. There are other significant areas in which such comparative
information is largely lacking.
A number of
crucial aspects of women's roles and statuses linked to demographic and
health issues still wait to be brought more fully on to the agendas of
researchers and policy-makers. These include potential impacts of
women's workloads on breastfeeding intensity and duration, ovulation
patterns, pregnancy outcomes, birth spacing and infant survival and
development; contexts in which conception and abortion occur; correlates
and causes of maternal mortality; the nature of kin and partner
relations affecting divisions of parental responsibilities; the extent
to which women's occupational roles in extra-familial contexts and their
impoverishment and family responsibilities are putting them at risk of
sexual as well as economic exploitation, with their consequences for
reproductive health and survival.
There are still
signs of sexual bias in many research designs and approaches. This is
witnessed by the fact that we know far more about women's reproductive
careers than their productive careers. Conversely, we know little about
men's procreative activities and child-rearing behaviour and more about
their employment and occupations. Such biases have serious implications
for the study of the nature of gender roles and statuses and the kinds
of policy advice and programme design which can be based upon it.
Such biases will
need to be overcome, if a more gender sensitive and aware analysis of
female and male roles in demographic change processes is to be achieved.
In particular more attention will have to be focused on male roles in
parenting and on the effects of male irresponsibility and 'free-riding'
behaviour on female status, fertility and child development outcomes.
Significantly comparative analysis of ethnographic facts carried out
earlier has indicated that male involvement in the domestic sphere is
likely to be a crucial factor affecting female status in the community.
Women's work needs
to be better taken into account in population and development policies.
To link it more effectively to demographic outcomes such as child
survival careful attention will need to be paid to women's time use,
time needs, pressures and strains and energy bottlenecks. These
considerations also have important implications for rural development
and agricultural policies and provision of access to energy sources and
labour saving machinery and implements.
strain upon the energy and time of female producers would cut down the
need for child labour for family survival. Such innovations would allow
girls and boys to have more time for learning new skills, and gaining
knowledge would prevent children from being the only source of renewable
energy available to their mothers, with the consequent pressures for
high fertility which this entails.
At the same time
modes of organizing production and patterns of control and consumption
of resources and products of different types need to be taken more
carefully into account. This is so because it is important to make sure
that those who have the responsibility for maintaining and raising the
next generation have the means to do so. The latter are often female.
Yet a frequently witnessed pattern of events is that larger burdens of
child-maintenance responsibility fall to females who are the poorest of
the poor. This is having serious consequences for female status and for
the human development of the next generation.
Critical in this
regard are the legal frameworks within which women can or do have access
to land and own capital and control labour and the problems they face in
their endeavours. If women's access to land and labour is mainly
attained through marriage and motherhood, then pressures for high
fertility are built-in and will persist.
exploitation and harassment in various forms need to be more explicitly
recognized and addressed, particularly in terms of the consequences for
AIDS prevention. In this regard policies and programmes to protect girls
and women and promote equality of opportunity and treatment in places of
education, training and employment will be crucial.
There is also need
for more explicit knowledge of sexual and marital norms and practices,
to better underpin the design and delivery of reproductive health
information campaigns and service delivery programmes.
Strain, Stress and Demographic Outcomes
Evidence from a
wide variety of studies suggests that the knowledge, resources, options
and supports available to women in their productive and reproductive
tasks and responsibilities greatly affect not only their own levels of
stress, coping ability and health status, but also the numbers, health,
survival and physical and psychological development of their offspring.
For many women the
breakdown of traditional institutions and mechanisms, combined with the
comparative lack of access to modern resources and opportunities, is
leading to intolerable increases in strains and stresses. This is a
result of their heavy combined productive and reproductive
responsibilities. Yet the seriousness and dimensions of these strains
and responsibilities are apparently not yet sufficiently addressed in
policies and programmes.
comparative research agenda, however, starkly reveals widespread
demographic evidence of the outcomes of these strains. These are the
unacceptably high levels of risky births, malnutrition, morbidity,
maternal and infant mortality and the widespread inability of mothers,
as well as fathers, to balance family resources and family numbers and
cope with the needs of offspring.
grave cause for concern and escalating anxiety in many countries is the
rapidly rising percentage of sexually transmitted HIV cases. Anxiety
regarding its consequences for family and national survival is focusing
attention on protection of the girl child, who is especially vulnerable,
in view of the evidence on teen pregnancies, HIV status and
abortion-related, deaths among teenage girls. As a result, promotion and
protection of reproductive health of girls and women as well as of their
families is becoming a matter of national emergency in many countries.
Several of the
gender issues highlighted in this monograph are necessarily at the core
of population and development policy and programme formulation. They are
among the key elements necessary to achieve economic and demographic
goals, including health and human development.
What, then, are
some of the policy and programme issues to be addressed by African
Governments during the rest of the decade with regard to women's roles
and gender issues in relation to the economic and demographic crises
pervasive in the region?
provision of higher education and formal sector job opportunities for
the majority of women are not feasible options open to most African
governments wishing to lower rates of infant mortality and fertility,
much as they might like to make such choices.
until the time
these become realizable goals, other avenues to demographic innovation
will need to be explored. These will include promotion of access to
land, water, renewable energy sources, agricultural knowledge and inputs
and mechanized rural development strategies, which obviate the need for
Female/Male Access to Education
countries in sub-Saharan Africa record disparities between girls
and boys in access to education. Even the countries with a good
record in this regard would have to make a concerted effort to
bridge the gap, especially with regard to vocational, technical
and higher education.
example, Ghana would apparently need to spend $53 million to
close the education gender gap. This shows enrolment of girls at
secondary school to be 31 per cent of the overall population for
students. In Nigeria the gap is even greater and would require
expenditure of nearly $113 million to bridge.
important issue is not only to enrol girls in primary school but
to see that they remain in school. Many become school drop-outs
as a result of pregnancy and domestic labour demands.
concern in the 1980s and 1990s has been the levelling out and
even the fall of school enrolment rates. Behind this situation,
there are valid economic and social considerations from the
parents: increased costs of education, its deteriorating
quality, very poor employment prospects, falling wages and
shrinking wage scales. This unfortunately does not take into
account societal and long-term benefits of sending children to
school. This situation may further delay any expected African
fertility transition linked to girls' education.
Health Care and Family Planning
condition for promoting and protecting reproductive health and survival
of women and their children, as well as for facilitating the demographic
transition, is provision of primary health care and family planning
services. Accessibility to such services is crucial to their widespread
use. However, provision of modern forms of health care has been
dwindling in many countries in the past decade in the face of
populations doubling over twenty years and savage cutbacks in health
which hinder the adoption of modern contraceptive methods are lack of
Family Planning staff trained to cope with peoples' needs for
information, advice and counselling.
Another hurdle to
be overcome is the need for programmes to take account of culturally and
socially diverse local needs and conditions. This has not, however,
prevented the apportioning of blame to women, as if the lack of adoption
of modern methods of birth control is their fault.
In reality for the
majority, especially in rural areas, services and commodities are
unavailable, despite the improvements which have been made in the past
Family Planning: Related Attitudes and Behaviour
findings of studies on family planning are the lack of access to
high quality services, the prevalence of method side effects,
poor compliance and method failure, and opposition from family
members and peers. These are all influential factors, as they
are in other parts of the world.
if the official position of many African governments in regard
to population growth and family planning has changed, commitment
may, in practice, still be somewhat tepid.
Mobilization of Women's Groups
evidence points to the need to empower women as well as men to gain
access to needed resources, to make informed choices and to take
effective action with respect to their reproductive and productive
lives. Without such empowerment the innovations needed to lower rates of
malnutrition, morbidity and mortality, to promote child survival and
development are not likely to occur.
There is evidence
of the ability and efficacy of women's groups in adopting and adapting
innovations which have the potential to profoundly affect economic and
demographic outcomes. In a number of instances in different countries in
the region women in rural and traditional areas - where fatalism and
pronatalism persist - have been adopting new practices, thus showing the
pervasiveness of latent demand for changes which will promote family
wellbeing and survival. Indeed, in many cases questions have been posed
as to whether existing services are meeting women's needs and what the
dimensions of such unmet needs are.
The changes wanted
and needed are those which will help them to improve their agricultural
practices, cut down their domestic workloads, improve the productivity
of cottage-based industries and help them plan, postpone and space
births, so that they can combine promotion of child survival and
development with work schedules.
demonstrate that even in very traditional rural societies there are
latent demands for family planning. A major problem is to ensure that
the demand for contraception aroused by information, education and
communication activities can be satisfied by the services locally
African governments toward family planning have progressively evolved
over the past three decades. programmes have now been developed in most
countries which support family planning and, in some cases, family life
education for schoolchildren. There has, however, been a minimal
adoption of modern contraceptive methods by most African populations.
Effective access still eludes the majority of women and their sexual
partners in sub-Saharan Africa.
the Girl Child
realistically attainable policies and programmes which will need to be
put into place to attain goals for promotion of survival, lower
mortality and fertility and enhanced human development, are the
economic, social and legal support and protection of young girls. If it
is not put in place the reproductive health and survival of whole
generations is seriously at risk.
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Women and Demographic Change in Sub-saharan Africa
List of the papers
presented at the Seminar on 'Women and Demographic Change in Sub-Saharan
Africa' organized by the IUSSP Scientific Committee on Gender and
Population, and ORSTOM - Dakar, held in Dakar, Senegal, from 3 to 6
Session 1: The
Status of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: Overview
'What do we know?
Conceptual and methodological issues in sub-Saharan Africa' by Christine
control and demand for children in Africa' by Mary Kritz and Paulina
'Women's status in
the demographic literature on sub-Saharan Africa' by Etienne and
Francine van de Walle
Nuptiality and Family Structure
'Les naissances et
conceptions prénuptiales en milieu rural au Sénégal' by Valérie Delaunay
et Thérèse Locoh
et relations de genre en Afrique de l'Ouest: le cas du Togo' by Thérèse
Locoh and Marie-Paule Thiriat
dynamics of family formation: women's status and nuptiality in Togo' by
Anastasia Gage-Brandon and Dominique Meekers
matrimoniaux et place de la femme dans le phénomène des enfants de la
rue au Congo' by Jean-Paul Toto
partners have different reproductive preferences in sub-Saharan Africa?'
by Akinrinola Bankole and Oyewole Olaleye
dependence: understanding women's status in sub-Saharan Africa' by Alex
and the intergenerational transmission of gender inequality: children's
transition to adulthood in Ghana' by Cynthia Lloyd and Anastasia
between women's status, proximate determinants and fertility in Nigeria'
by Christiana Okojie
context of high fertility among the Igbo of Nigeria' by uche
Session 4: Health
'Statut des femmes
et comportements de santé en Côte d'Ivoire' by Sylvie Delcroix and Agnès
économique et risques liés à la maternité: le cas du Zaïre' by Ngondo a
'The status of
women and maternal health in rural Nigeria' by Joseph Ottong
female status differentials in rural Mali. Variations in maternal
resources for children's illness management and day-to-day care' by
education and infant/child morbidity in Ghana: the case of diarrhea.
Evidence from the Ghana demographic and health survey' by Eva Tagoe
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
vulnerability to STD/HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: an increasing evidence'
by Michel Caraël
'Women and AIDS in
Ghana: "I control my body" (or do I?)' by Akosua Adomako
'La femme et le
SIDA au Burundi' by Khadidiatou Mbaye
over their sexuality: implications for STDs and HIV/AIDS transmission in
Nigeria' by I.O. Orubuloye
familiaux de l'activité professionnelle des femmes de Dakar, Sénégal' by
Philippe Bocquier and Jeanne Nanitelamio
structure and women's economic opportunities in coastal Tanzania' by
'Place de la femme
dans une économie informelle: le cas du Zaïre' by Marie-Claire Lepina
activities and status of rural Muslim Hausa women in Northern Nigeria'
by Elsbeth Robson
women's status in sub-Saharan Africa' by Paulina Makinwa-Adebusoye and
displaced women and economic activities' by Samira Amin Ahmed
between household structures and female migration in rural Mali' by
Sally Findley and Assitan Diallo
and hometown linkages in Nigeria: status, economic roles and
contributions to community development' by Lillian Trager
Session 8: Natural
Resources and the Environment
resources and the environment' by Hyacinth Ajaegbu
growth and commercialization of fuelwood in Northern Ghana' by Elizabeth
'The effects of
male migration on women's management of the natural resource base. The
case study of Passoré (Burkina Faso)' by Roz David