25 Fordham Int'l L.J. 259 (2001-2002)
Issue 2

handle is hein.journals/frdint25 and id is 273 raw text is: 








                     SPECIAL REPORT



  PROMISE UNFULFILLED: LAW, CULTURE,
     AND WOMEN'S INHERITANCE RIGHTS
                          IN GHANA

             Jeanmarie Fenrich* & Tracy E. Higgins**


     Palm fruits in the farm of a woman can never ripen.
                                                   -Ewe Saying


                         INTRODUCTION

     Although women in Ghana cultivate forty percent of all
land, they are far less likely than men to exercise control over
their land as independent farmers or farm managers.1 Often
they do not control the proceeds from the land2 and lack the
ability to dispose of it through sale or inheritance.' On average,
women farmers cultivate plots that are about half the size of
those cultivated by men.4 The literacy rate for women in Ghana
is 38.5%;5 for men it is 60.8%.6 Girls receive less education than

    * Fellow, Joseph R. Crowley Program in International Human Rights, 2000-2001;
Associate, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, New York, New York, 2001-present.
    ** Professor of Law, Fordham Law School; Co-Director, Crowley Program in Inter-
national Human Rights;J.D. Harvard Law School 1990, B.A. Princeton University 1986.
    1. Nii Ashie Kotey & Dzodzi Tsikata, Women and Land Rights in Ghana, in WOMEN
AND LAW IN WEST AFRIcA: SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS OF SOME KEY ISSUES AFFECTING WOMEN
204 (Akua Kuenyehia ed., 1998); Mariama Awumbila, Women and Gender Equality in
Ghana: A Situational Analysis, in GENDER TRAINING IN GHANA: POLITICS, ISSUES AND
TOOLS 44 (Dzodzi Tsikata ed., 2001) (noting regional variations in women land owners
with 50% in the Ashanti region and only two and four percent in the Northern and
Upper West regions respectively).
    2. C.K. Brown, Gender Roles and Household Allocation of Resources and Decision-Making
in Ghana, in THE CHANGING FAMILY IN GHANA 21, 25 (Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf ed.,
1996) (explaining that women often work on the land but do not control the profits
that they make).
    3. See Kotey & Tsikata, supra note 1, at 215, 217 (noting that men own most land
and that, although women labor on the land, they often do not inherit family land).
    4. SALLY BADEN ET AL., BRIDGE (DEVELOPMENT-GENDER), BACKGROUND PAPER ON
GENDER ISSUES IN GHANA 12 (Jan. 1994).
    5. The literacy rate for females in urban areas is 57% and in rural areas 28.3%. See
JOHANNA 0. SVANIKIER, WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND THE LAW IN GHANA 45 (1997).
    6. The literacy rate for males in urban areas is 74.8 % and in rural areas 53.5 %.
Id.

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