Marriage, Lineage, Relative Spousal Power, and Fertility Decline in Ghana

Laurie DeRose, University of Maryland

Women's relative influence in reproductive decision-making has not increased with rapid fertility decline in Ghana. As men select into monogamy on the basis of lower (but not low) fertility desires, the pressure on their wives to fulfill those desires seems greater. In contrast, junior wives of polygynously married men may be under pressure to cease childbearing; even relatively high fertility goals have dropped enough that they seldom require expending the full reproductive potential of more than one wife. Differences by lineage type are modest, but the influence of matrilineal women seems to have decreased during early fertility transition.

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Presented in Session 79: Fertility Transitions in Ghana