Socio-cultural and gender context of access to natural resources: empirical evidence from women shea nut pickers in the northern region of Ghana
3Chereponi District Assembly, Ministry of Local Government, Ghana.
*corresponding author, email@example.com
Economic activities along the shea butter value chain are seen as key to reducing poverty among rural women in northern Ghana. However, very little is known on how women negotiate socio-cultural and gender barriers limiting their access to shea nuts. This paper presents data on 512 female shea nut pickers across three districts in northern Ghana and examines how socio-cultural, gender, and intra-household dynamics restrict women’s access to shea nuts. We applied Q methodology to collect women’s narratives on the issues limiting their access to shea nuts, and we analyzed these narratives through exploratory factor analysis (EFA). We identified three factors, namely “community governance and traditional regulations”, “intra-household dynamics and gender relations”, and “socio-cultural context and taboos”, as the main issues hindering women’s access. Our analysis shows that women shea nut pickers are often forced to adhere to gender insensitive and socio-cultural rules and taboos in order to access shea trees.Keywords: Shea Nut, Socio-Cultural and Intra-Household Dynamics, Gender, Taboos, Northern Ghana.